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India: Christians arrested for practicing their religion

A pastor and 49 other Christians were arrested in northern India in April 2022. The reason for these arrests is linked to an anti-religious conversion law, enacted in 2021 by the government. From that moment, the persecution of this group of people continued until today, as in the case of Pastor Masih.

Pastor Vijay Masih has been jailed for over three months despite being granted bail. His wife alleges that Hindu extremists brought new false charges against her husband.

Uttar Pradesh Illegal Religious Conversion Prohibition Act has amended legislation of 1986. It stipulates penalties of up to ten years for those who illegally convert to religions other than Hinduism. 

According to PIME Asia News:

“Violation of the terms of the law carries a penalty of one to five years in prison and a penalty of 15,000 rupees (about 170 euros) for forced religious conversion. For conversions of minors and women from the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe community, the penalty is three to ten years imprisonment, with a penalty of 25,000 rupees (about 280 euros). In case of forced mass conversions, the regulations provide for a penalty of three to ten years in prison, and the payment of 50,000 rupees (about 562 euros).”

Read more about the law here. 

Regarding the case of the imprisoned pastor, The Christian Post reported:

“Pastor Masih and the other arrested Christians, plus a few others, faced charges recently filed in a complaint by Virendra Singh on January 23. The complaint lists 47 identified Christians and 20 unidentified Christians, and the same names appear in another complaint filed the same day by Sanjay Singh.

In both allegations, Christians are baselessly charged under the provisions of Uttar Pradesh’s Unlawful Conversion of Religion Prohibition Act and baseless charges of forgery, deception, and criminal conspiracy.”

The first event dates back to a Holy Thursday in 2022, where during a mass, they were interrupted by Hindu extremists in India. The situation worsened when the police arrived, who between deception and persuasion imprisoned the Christians, according to their testimonies.

You can continue reading about this case here.

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