At least 30 people were imprisoned in India during May because of their faith. According to persecution watchdog, International Christian Concern (ICC), the arrests were justified by filling charges of forced conversion. In one incident a mob of radicals broke into the home of a local pastor, who was praying with his family, and beat him before handing him over to police. The police then imprisoned him under the charge of “deliberate and malicious acts against another religion”. Anti-conversion laws, adopted in 11 Indian states, are often used against Christians as it allows authorities to jail them with little regard for due process. “We have arrived at a critical juncture, where practicing faith of our choice is equated as crime and punished accordingly,” a local Christian leader told ICC. “We need to be alert and prepared to face the challenge; almost every pastor and leader is targeted in Uttar Pradesh.”

In another incident, a group of ten young radicals interrupted a Sunday service where 40 Christians were praying and worshiping. An eyewitness told ICC that the group recorded videos while harassing the congregation and also stole the pastor’s Bible and shoved him to the ground. The pastor was arrested under anti-conversion laws. “We are scared to even conduct small group prayers that can be framed as forcible conversions,” a house church pastor told ICC. “Our lives are in danger, as Christian identity could put us behind bars, we don’t see any way out, only God can intervene.” Jeff King, president of ICC, said:  “India’s anti-conversion laws are not a means to protect religious freedom, but rather a mechanism for the government to oppress and punish religious minorities. “India claims to be the world’s largest democracy, yet shamelessly violates human rights. We pray for the Indian Church and for the injustice to come to an end.”

Source: Premier Christian News

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