World News

Hundreds of Christians arrested in India

Andrew Boyd, a member of the Christian support agency Release International, confirms that anti-conversion laws have aggravated the oppression of India's Christians, who already have been severely persecuted.

Based on news reports, 398 Christians – mostly Protestant pastors and worshippers – have been arrested in the state of Uttar Pradesh since India passed the anti-conversion law three years ago. Just this November police detained and interrogated 42 Christians in the country’s most populated state. Anti-conversion laws currently apply in 12 of India’s 28 states, causing deep concerns that the government will make them compulsory nationwide. 

One hundred seventy-five people were killed in various attacks in the northeastern state of Manipur. Three hundred churches were burned down, and 60,000 people were forced out of their homes.

According to Mr Boyd: “The intention of the laws is to prevent anybody converting someone else by force or bribery. Okay, we’d all agree that’s reasonable, right? But the trouble is, these laws are being imposed by radicals. Through very loosely worded legislation, they’re looking at relief aid which has been provided by Christians and saying it’s bribery. They’re looking at talk of heaven and saying that’s bribery, talk of hell – that’s coercion. Pretty much any attempt to share your faith in India, where these groups are militant and rising, is being opposed.”

The CEO of Release International, Paul Robinson, expressed his concern over the fact that authorities regularly arrest pastors under false allegations; police also terrorise women and children when they return home from church meetings: “In the worst cases, pastors have been beaten up, and a few have been killed. Given the prevailing trend, the persecution of Christians in India is likely to increase. We are witnessing the world’s largest democracy becoming an increasingly intolerant society. Release International calls on the Indian government to act swiftly to prevent the spread of this culture of hostility towards minority faiths and to overturn the anti-conversion laws.”


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