Evangelical Fellowship of India News Persecution Watch, July 23, 2011

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July 23, 2011

Pastors Arrested in Uttar Pradesh

The police arrested five pastors from the Gospel Messengers Team on the morning of 13 July in Bighapur, Unnoa, charging them of trying to convert people to Christianity, by force. 

The police arrested the pastors after a mob of about 75 people led by Himesh Dixit, Subhash Bajpai and Chinh Patel, known leaders of the area Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), raided a meeting being organised by the Christians and threatened all those present. The mob falsely charged the pastors of having forcibly converted people to Christianity and of paying those present to attend the meeting. The Christians were warned not to continue their ministry in the city. 

After a short time the police arrived, taking away Pastor (s) Ganga Prasad, Brother Om Prakash, Bother Desh Kumar, Brother Vinod Kumar, Brother Prem Shankar, accusing them of forced conversions and other crimes. 

The pastors were released on bail at 7 p.m later that evening. 

About 150 Christians gathered at the house of Om Prakash for the regular weekly prayer, led by pastors AB Singh, Ganga Prasad and Robert. Hundreds of supporters went to the police station to proclaim the innocence of the pastors.
Christians Arrested in Karnataka 

Police on June 28 arrested two Christians after Hindu extremists allegedly from the Bajrang Dal attacked Pastor M. Sandeep and a man identified only as Isaac as they were returning home from a prayer meeting in Heggere, Hubli, Karnataka. 

Our correspondent reported that at about 11 a.m. the extremists pressurized the Christians and began questioning them, accusing them of forceful conversion. They searched their bags for Christian literature, slapped them and verbally abused them.

The extremists then took the Christians to the Old Hubli police station, where they were detained for about six hours. Thereafter, police filed charges for hurting religious sentiments, violation of private property and unlawful coercion. 

On the same day, the Christian were sent to Dharwad Jail and were released on bail only after two days. 

In another incident on June 21 in Bagragola, Virajpet, police arrested four tribal Christians after Hindu extremists accused them of forceful conversion. 

Our correspondent reported that the Christians ? three of whom were identified by their single names of Mani, Agela and Ravi ? were detained at the police station for about five hours without food and water. 

They later appeared before a Virajpet judge, and the Christians were released on bail the same day with the intervention of area Christian leaders. 

According to reports, area Hindu extremists were jealous of improvements in the tribal Christians' lives after they received Christ. 

An Appeal to write to Authorities 

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka appealing to them to safe guard the rights of the minority communities and to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.

Kumari Mayawati

Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh 

(O) Tel: (522) 2239296 

(O) Fax: (522) 2239234 

(R) Tel: (522) 221122 

(R) Fax: (522) 220550

Shri B. S. Yediyurappa
Chief Minister of Karnataka 

(O) Tel: +91 080 22253414 ; 22253424 

(O) Fax: +91 080 22281021 ; 22253660

E-mail: [email protected]

Issued By:

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,

General Secretary

Evangelical Fellowship of India

New Delhi, India

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations