India jails 30 Christians on charges of “forced conversion”
As many as 30 Christians were jailed last month on charges of forced conversion in just one state alone, including 20 in one week, according to a U.S.-based persecution watchdog, which says churches now fear they may be implicated in a case if they conduct even small group prayers.
The latest incident that led to an arrest of a Christian worker took place on May 31 in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh when a mob of extremist Hindu nationalists broke into the home of a local pastor who was praying with his family, beat him, dragged him from his home and assaulted him before handing him over to police, International Christian Concern reports.
The police then arrested and imprisoned the pastor, charging him with deliberate and malicious acts against another religion while failing to investigate the assault against him.
“We have arrived at a critical juncture, where practicing faith of our choice is equated as crime and punished accordingly,” a local Christian leader from Uttar Pradesh was quoted as saying. “We need to be alert and prepared to face the challenge; almost every pastor and leader is targeted in UP. These are the testing times.”
In a separate incident in the same state on May 29, about 10 young Hindu nationalists interrupted a Sunday service where 40 Christians were praying and worshiping, stole the pastor’s Bible and shoved him to the ground.