Date: January 1, 2019
India (International Christian Concern) – On December 25, a mob of 30 Hindu radicals from the Bajrang Dal stopped four buses carrying 200 children on their way to a Christmas program in India’s Uttarakhand State. The radicals claimed the children were being taken to churches in Dehradun to be forcefully converted to Christianity and abused by pastors.
All 200 children were Hindus from the slums of Haridwar and were on their way to Dehradun to attend a Christmas program when they were stopped. The radicals pressured local police into arresting Sandeep Kashyap, a Hindu teacher escorting the children.
Kashyap, who has been bringing the children of Haridwar to attend Christmas programs for the past four years, told Morning Star News, “Never has such a problem risen in the past years. I did not know that taking the children to witness a Christmas program was such a big crime.”
Police quickly discovered that the claims of forced conversion were baseless. Rajeev Uniyal, the officer in-charge, told Morning Star News, “The Bajrang Dal volunteers suspected that these children were taken to Dehradun to forcefully convert them and make them Christians, but our prima facie inquiry has revealed that nothing of such sort was going to take place.”
False claims of forced conversions are often used by Hindu radicals to harass India’s Christian community. In many cases, the claim of forced conversions is used to justify assaults on Christian leaders by Hindu radicals. In May 2018, Uttrakhand became the seventh state in India to adopt a Freedom of Religion Act, commonly referred to as an Anti-Conversion Law. This law has made it much easier for radicals in India to falsely charge Christians with claims of forced conversions.
HOW TO PRAY: Pray for justice for Kashyap following his unjust arrest. Pray for encouragement for any children who were traumatized by this incident. Pray for greater protection for religious minorities in India.