by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - Police in India’s Uttar Pradesh state last month beat up two Christians they had arrested on false charges of forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity, Morning Star News (MSN) reports. Believers in Uttar Pradesh are reportedly experiencing a wave of intense persecution as Hindu nationalists continually abuse harsh anti-conversion laws to have them arrested and detained on false charges.
Responding to a complaint on September 1 that Christians were forcibly converting Hindus in Tatamuraini, Sultanpur District, officers from the Chanda police station arrested three local believers known as Sabajeet, Gopinath, and Chotelal, from Sabajeet’s home, MSN reports.
Gopinath was released later that day, but Sabajeet and Chotetal were detained overnight and were subjected to interrogation while being beaten with lathis, heavy bamboo sticks wrapped in iron, Sabajeet told MSN. “The in-charge of the police station charged at us with bamboo, shouting casteist slurs; he told us: ‘You filthy rogues, you eat the food from Indian soil and serve foreign masters.’ As this exchange continued, the officer bruised our backs and hands with lathis until he grew tired,” Sabajeet said.
The next day, on September 2, the officer-in-charge threatened to prosecute the two believers unless they stopped Christian worship in their village. “We told him repeatedly that we pray in our own homes without causing any disturbance to anyone,” Sabajeet said.
The Christians were then released, but only after being charged with violating COVID-19 restrictions on public assembly. “Hindu temples and all places of worship are open, and people are gathering in large numbers in the state,” Sabajeet said. “But only Christian worship services are targeted and framed under the provisions of law for assembling as five or more in number.”