India Christian Couple Detained On "Forced Conversion" Charges

Friday, August 8, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- The pastor of a Full Gospel Church of God (FGCB) congregation and his wife remained detained Wednesday, August 6, in India's state of Madhya Pradesh on changes of "forced conversion," church members and investigators told BosNewsLife.

The troubles began Sunday, August 3, after 40-year old pastor, Sam Oommen, his wife Jessy Sam and their two small children returned from shopping trip after a Sunday afternoon worship service, said the Global Council of Indian Christians, which represents churches and mission groups.

Dozens of Hindu activists allegedly attempted sto stop them by attempting to block their entry into their house-church in Jabalpur, seen as one of the most important cities of central India. In a separate statement, the FGCB linked the tensions to a person who was baptized by the church, but later claimed he was forced to convert.


The couple and their two children were detained on "false charges of forced conversion and allurement," said the FGCB.

Their children were later released and are currently cared for by a fellow church member, the organization said. The church was reportedly still locked and under police guard Wednesday, August 6, apparently pending an investigation.

It comes amid concern among Christian rights groups about controversial anti-conversion legislation in several states of India, which have been backed by Hindu groups who are concerned about the spread of Christianity in the country. Christians comprise still a tiny minority of this mainly Hindu nation of over one billion people.

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