Date: March 23, 2020
India (International Christian Concern) – According to Morning Star News, illegal arrests and false criminal charges are among the most common forms of police harassment endured by Christians in India’s Uttar Pradesh state. Speaking to the Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF-India), Morning Star News reports that eastern Uttar Pradesh is among the most anti-Christian regions in all of India.
On February 23, a mob of radical Hindu nationalists attacked a house church in Shanti Dham village, located in the Ghazipur district of Uttar Pradesh. According to Morning Star News, Pastor Shiv Shankar Ram was leading the worship services when 20 radicals accompanied by police intruded into the church.
“The police inspector asked the congregation of over 100 Christians present at the home church to disperse, and if not there will be cases booked against them,” Pastor Ram told Morning Star News. The police went on to arrest Pastor Ram and Pastor Sharvan Kuman.
The pastors were taken to the Karimuddinpur, Ghazipur Police Station, locked in a cell, and verbally abused by police. Later, eight more Christians from the Shanti Dham house church were taken into custody after they demanded police to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation.
According to Morning Star News, police and radicals accused the Christians of being involved in forced conversions. The Christians were under interrogation until late in the evening on February 23. Eventually, they were all booked under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code for unlawful assembly.
Lawyers from ADF-India intervened in the incident and secured bail for all 10 Christians. However, this process took a number of days.
False criminal accusations, illegal arrests, and harassment have become common threats endured by Christian across India. India’s blasphemy laws and anti-conversion laws are often abused by radicals seeking to harass pastors and shut down Christian communities.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for all false charges against these believers to be dropped. Pray for protection for members of this congregation. Pray for the authorities to respect the church’s right to worship.