November 6, 2008: Orissa police on November 4 arrested seven Christian’s relief workers on false charges of conversion by allurement under 153A/34IPC of section 4 - Orissa Freedom of Religious Act in Bhadrak district.
The Discipleship Centre (DC) is running a social relief project on Disaster Risk Reduction and Holistic Development of Children through Education, Health Care and Community Sensitization for three years in ten villages of Tihili Block.
The incident occurred when five men and two women, all staff of the DC, were travelling to the DC project office on motorcycles when one unidentified cyclist collided with one of the bikes, incurring minor injuries to one of the workers.
Around 50 people soon gathered at the spot which swelled up to a mob of about 400 people. The seven workers were forcibly taken to a nearby cremation ground where the mob started slapping, pushing and beating them up and threatened to burn them alive.
Meanwhile, participants from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in an ongoing protest rally to highlight their issues on ‘forced’ conversion, chanting anti-Christians slogans, passed the ground and joined the crowd.
Police arrived at the spot and DC workers were taken to the police station .Two First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered against the DC staffs for ‘forced’ conversion and for the accident. The social workers have also filed a counter case against the perpetrators.
The Christians are still detained in the police station at press time. Please pray for their safety and early release.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
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