October 15, 2009
Police arrested two Christian workers, Murthy Ganesh and Chandrakanth Lamban from Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMPB) on charges of forceful conversion on 10 October in Hubli District, Karnataka.
According to an EFI correspondent, Rev. M. J Sugumaran, at about 9 a .m. the two Christian workers went to Goudigere village to conduct a prayer meeting on the request of a Christian woman identified only as Venkatamma.
In the meantime, Hindu extremists were closely monitoring the Christians movements to implicate them into a false case, according to reports. After the prayer meeting, the extremists rushed on the Christians, accused them of trying to forcibly convert people through preaching Bibles and by distributing CDs and tracts. The Christians have with them Bibles only, reported our correspondent.
The extremists detained Ganesh and Lamban in a Hindu temple and later filed a complaint against them at Kundgol police station. They were arrested under Sections 295 (A) and 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code for deliberate and malicious acts,intended to outrage religious feelings of any class and punishment of criminal conspiracy respectively. The Christians were sent to Hubli sub jail on the same night.
Local newspaper reported the incident, falsely claiming that the Christians were indulging in forceful conversion. Reports also said that the police slapped the two Christians a few times.
With the help of local Christian leaders, the Christians were released on bail on 12 Oct afternoon.
Kindly pray for peace in Karnataka and for Friends Missionary Prayer Band ministry in India.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India