Caution for Indian Christian women in case of conversion

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Three Christian women arrested by police for alleged violation of anti-conversion law in northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh were released on bail by a local court on October 13.

The bail requests of four other people, including a pastor, arrested during the Mau incident are expected to be heard on October 16, Pastor Dinanath Jaiswal said.

The seven were among a group of around 50 Christians attacked by radical Hindus as they attended a Sunday service at Mau district headquarters.

“Women are so traumatized that they are unable to explain their ordeal,” Pastor Jaiswal told UCA News on October 14.

He said Christians in the state were living under tremendous pressure and fear after repeated attacks on their prayer meetings in parts of the state.

A local Catholic priest who did not want to be named told UCA News that attacks by fanatic Hindu mobs under the pretext of controlling so-called forced religious conversion activities have become the norm in India’s most populous state .

We are afraid because they can attack us at any time and blame us. Police and political leaders side with aggressors

In Mau, Pastor Abraham Shakil and his wife were put behind bars in the latest incident while Pastor Raju Manjhi was arrested a few days ago. In Azamgarh, Pastor Nathaniel and his wife were in prison. If they don’t get bail in lower courts, they must go to the High Court for redress, the priest said.

“We are afraid because they can attack us at any time and blame us. Police and political leaders side with the aggressors. Many pastors have stopped organizing prayer services, ”he added.

Uttar Pradesh has become a hotbed of Christian persecution since Yogi Adityanth, a Hindu seer and politician from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party, became the chief minister of state in 2017.

No less than 374 cases of persecution of Christians have been reported in almost every district of Uttar Pradesh since Adityanth took power. Attacks have escalated since the provincial legislature passed anti-conversion legislation in September 2020.

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Christians and Muslims face increasing hostilities from Hindu nationalist groups in the state. Christians, mostly belonging to smaller Protestant groups, are often accused of forcing people to convert through the lure of money and employment.

Armed crowds often burst into prayer houses and residences where prayer meetings are held. They shout slogans, beat up men, women and even children, vandalize and burn property, the Bible and hymns, then summon the police and force them to arrest the victims.

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