by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Persecution against Christians in India has intensified since the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014 and, on September 10, another five believers were arrested and falsely charged in Uttar Pradesh state, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
Around 25 Christians had congregated in a Christian home in Jharuva village for a prayer service led by Pastor Richard Benjamin on September 10, ICC reports. Pastor Benjamin is a church planter in the Faizabad district and oversees around 300 Christians in eight villages.
As the meeting was underway, Bajrang Dal Hindu activists arrived and invaded the house and accused the Christians of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity: forcible conversions are against the law in the state. The police were called, and five believers were taken into custody and detained for five days before being released on bail. The Christians were charged under the anti-conversion law, ICC reports.
“This is the third time I was put into jail in the last ten years,” Pastor Benjamin told International Christian Concern (ICC). “The five days I spent in jail were difficult as we couldn’t get enough food and the jailer gave us a lot of work. I fainted a couple of times due to the lack of food.”
Rights groups report that radical Hindu nationalists frequently file false accusations of forced conversion to harass and attack Christians and have them arrested. At least 71 pastors and other Christians have been arrested and detained on such trumped-up charges since the end of June, ICC said.
India ranks 10 on the US Open Doors Watch List 2021 of top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.