India: Two Pastors arrested in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka

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July 30, 2009:

Vemulawada, Karimnagar incident:

The Andhra Pradesh police on July 24 arrested Pastor Devadass based on the complaint filed by the Hindu extremists of forceful conversion in Vemulawada, Karimnagar district.

According to an EFI correspondent, Rev. Noel Kotian, the extremists allegedly from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh accused Pastor Devadass of distributing gospel tracts and attacked him.

The pastor was returning from the Sunday worship meeting on July 19 when the extremists’ way laid and assaulted him. They dragged the pastor to Vemulawada police station and accused him of distributing gospel tracts near the premises of Rajarajeshwar temple located at Vemulawada.

The pastor was released later that night on the condition to report at the police station the next day. The police on July 20 took written statements from both the parties.

At about 11:00 a.m. on July 24, the police arrested the pastor in his house under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class and was sent to district jail, Karimnagar.

Please pray for the early release of the pastor.

Sakleshpur, Hassan incident:

On July 26, a mob of about 10 Hindu extremists barged into a house church, assaulted a pastor and destroyed church furniture in Sakleshpur Taluk, Hassan district.

At about 9:30 p.m. Hindu extremists forced into the house church of St. Thomas Evangelical Church of India, accused Pastor Basanth Kumar of forceful conversion, beat him up and filed a complaint against him of forceful conversion, reported an EFI correspondent, Noel Kotian.

The extremists also damaged the church furniture, seized the Bibles and hymnbooks and forcibly took the pastor to the police station.

The police took the signature of the pastor on a blank paper and released him on the condition that he would present himself to the police station whenever he was summoned.

At about 6:00 p.m. the next day, the police summoned the pastor and arrested him under Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code for “abetment of a thing.” The pastor was released on bail on July 28 with the help of local Christian leaders.

Kindly pray for peace and religious tolerance in Karnataka.

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