by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Four Christians in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have been jailed on false charges of trying to forcibly convert Hindus to faith in Jesus Christ, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. Anti-conversion laws in numerous Indian states are increasingly abused by Hindu nationalist extremists to imprison, assault, murder, and displace Christians in the country.
The four believers, including two pastors, were arrested and detained in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district on 19 February, ICC reports. The Christians were at a family party in Udhama village, when police arrived and arrested seven people. Four of those arrested were then charged with “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.” They were then sent to the Betul district jail.
A local Christian source told ICC that, when he went to the police station to ask for the release of the four detained believers, he was threatened by both law enforcement officials and by Hindu nationalists gathered outside. “They told me that they would kill me,” the source told ICC.
“The police in charge did not allow us to see the Christians in custody. When I asked them on what basis they arrested Christians and filed an FIR against these innocent people, the man in charge of the police station shouted at me and threatened that I could be joining them in jail and chased me out of the police station.”
Persecution against Christians in India has intensified since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power in 2014. India now ranks 10 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted: in 2013 India had ranked 31 on the list.