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World News

30 Christians jailed in India as persecution in the country escalates

by Kelly Valencia

It’s understood 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.

On Tuesday, a mob of radicals broke into the home of a local pastor, who was praying with his family, and beat him and assaulted him before handing him over to police.

The police then arrested the pastor and imprisoned him under the charged of “deliberate and malicious acts against another religion”.

Anti-conversion laws, adopted in eleven 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. These are the testing times.”

In a separate incident, a group of seven to ten young radicals interrupted a Sunday service on 29th May where 40 Christians were praying and worshiping.

An eyewitness told ICC that the group recorded videos while harassing the congregation. They also stole the pastor’s Bible and shoved him to the ground.

The pastor was arrested under anti-conversion charges.

“We are scared to even conduct small group prayers even that can be framed as forcible conversions,” a house church pastor told ICC.

“Our lives are in danger, as Christian identity could put us behin bars, we don’t see any way out, only God should 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.

“Our Indian brothers and sisters are facing increased levels of persecution since the adoption of these laws in 11 states. India claims to be the world’s largest democracy, yet shamelessly violates human rights. We pray for the continued resilience of the Indian Church and for the injustice to come to an end.”

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