India: Pentecostal pastors accused of "forced conversion"

Thursday, September 15, 2011

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News Correspondent

IndiaMADHYA PRADESH, INDIA (Worthy News)-- Four Pentecostal pastors in Madhya Pradesh were recently beaten and arrested on charges of forced conversion, spending a night in jail before making bail.

It was the latest act of aggression by Hindu nationalists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh against Christian ministers.

After Pastors Ramesh, Balu and Ashok baptised 11 Hindus according to the Pentecostal rite, RSS activists armed with sticks along with local police broke-up a prayer meeting following the baptism. After arresting the pastors for forced conversion, the police interogated the newly baptised, attempting to coerce them into filing false charges against the pastors. However, the new Christians flatly refused, stating that they wanted to be baptised.

"The situation is alarming for all Christians," said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians. "Madhya Pradesh is a rogue state that does not guarantee any rights of the Constitution in this community. The anti-conversion law of 1968 serves as a pretext to intimidate Christians."