India:36 Christians arrested after Hindu radicals lock 100 congregants in church

Monday, April 18, 2022

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Radicalized Hindus in India’s Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday locked a congregation of 100 Christians in their church and then had 36 of them arrested and jailed on alleged forced conversion charges, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

The 100 congregants were unlawfully imprisoned during their Maundy Thursday service in Uttar Pradesh’s Fathepur District last week, ICC said. A mob led by Hindu extremist Himanshu Dikshit arrived, and laid siege to the church, falsely alleging that the believers were forcing Hindus to become Christians and locking them inside to wait for the police.

When the police arrived they arrested 36 Christians on alleged forced conversion charges but took no action against any of the Hindus for unlawful imprisonment or other crimes. The remaining believers were released from the church, while the Christian community works to raise bail funds needed for the release of their detained brethren.

One member of the congregation told ICC: “This is a perfect portrayal of Jesus’ suffering 2000 years ago. We know Jesus endured, and we will.”

In a statement about rights violations in Uttar Pradesh, ICC President Jeff King said: “Sadly, Uttar Pradesh is one of the harshest states in India regarding religious freedom violations.

When the Indian authorities validate the actions of a violent mob by jailing the mob’s victims, they are sending a message that criminal activity is approved by the authorities whenever it targets religious minorities. This type of legal posture only worsens the religious freedom climate and further increases the vulnerability of Christians to more violence.”

India ranks 10th on the US Open Doors Watch List of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted, with Uttar Pradesh being one of the worst Indian states for violating its citizens’ religious freedom.