08/01/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – In an ongoing crackdown on Church activities in Utter Pradesh, radical Hindu nationalists attacked three separate congregations with allegations of forced conversion last week, leading to the detainment of fourteen Christians.
In one incident, on July 22nd, a mob of Hindu radicals accompanied by 20 policemen stormed a prayer meeting where 35 Christians had gathered. “The police told me to stop the prayers,” Pastor Peter (name changed, for security reasons) told ICC, “The large number of policemen came as if we are criminals, they threatened all the Christians gathered and said that we are involved in illegal conversions.”
10 people from the prayer meeting were taken to the police station, where they were further harassed by officers and detained for hours. After their information had been collected, the Christians were told to prepare to report back to the police station when called.
“We are not going give up on our faith as they want,” said Pastor Peter. “They threatened us of the consequences of being Christians in Hindu country, but I told them my testimony in the police station and even sung a song.”
On July 27th, a similar incident occurred when Pastor Manoj and Mr. Amarnath of Utter Pradesh were assaulted by radical Hindu’s at a prayer gathering and taken into police custody. While in custody, police took away the men’s Bibles and phones.
India’s Christians have increasingly seen their religious freedom rights curtailed through the proliferation and abuse of anti-conversion laws. According to these laws, religious conversions must be regulated by the state government. Fraudulent conversions, often labeled forced conversions, are criminalized.
Due to growing religious intolerance and the normalization of religiously motivated violence, many radical Hindu nationalists view all religious conversions to non-Hindu faiths as fraudulent. This assumption of guilt has been the catalyst for many violent attacks on Christians simply exercising their religious freedom rights.
Please join us in praying for our suffering brothers and sisters in India, and for the Lord to strengthen the church during these difficult times. Please also pray for those who persecute the church, that they will be transformed by the love of Jesus and be granted true repentance.