India: Nine Christians imprisoned on false charges of forced conversion

Monday, January 17, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Nine Christians in India’s Madhya Pradesh state are in prison awaiting trial on false charges of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity, International Christian Concern (ICC) reported on January 15. Persecution against Christians in India has steadily increased since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.

The arrests took place in two separate incidents where police misused the Madhya Pradesh anti-conversion law, ICC said. In one incident on January 9, police arrived at a house church in Padalya village, Jhabua District, and dragged Pastor Ramesh Vasuniya out of the service he was holding and into a van they came in. The police went on to arrest, detain, and charge five other Christians from the church as well as the pastor.

Three further Christians were similarly arrested on false forced conversion charges as they attended a service in Bisoli village in Jhabua District, ICC said. Here, the police arrested Pastor Jansingh and two other believers at the service.

“When Pastor Jansingh’s wife asked why her husband was under arrest, the police reportedly told her that it was because her husband continued to lead Christian worship services in Bisoli after being repeatedly warned not to,” ICC said in its report. The three Christians from Bisoli were also beaten by police.

Local Christian leaders have told ICC that bail has been denied in the cases of all nine believers. “The families will now have to appeal these decisions to the High Court as they struggle to meet their basic needs,” ICC said.