Six Christians Arrested in India
“I follow Jesus Christ with all my heart, I serve Christ…”
Reprimanding and slapping a pastor for reading the Bible instead of Hindu texts, police in Uttar Pradesh state, India last month detained six Christians under “unlawful assembly” laws for worshiping together, sources said.
After traveling from Etah village to a church in nearby Pujaripurvah, the six Christians were detained for nine days before they were granted bail by Bahriach District’s Second Class Judicial Magistrate Court on July 5.
Police on June 25 arrived at the worship service in Pujaripurvah village and confiscated Bibles, hymn books and devotionals. Station House Officer (SHO) Aravind Kumar of Nanpara demanded that Pastor Asha Ram Sahni hand over literature he suspected was used to convert people, the church leader said.
When Pastor Sahni showed him copies of the New Testament and gospel tracts, Kumar said, “Not this ‘thing,’ give us the material with which you do conversions.”
Kumar further badgered him, saying, “You are paid eight to 10 lakhs [US$12,420 to US$15,520] for converting people,” the pastor said.
“I told the officer, ‘Sir, if I’m paid such hefty amounts, why would I live in a mud house? I follow Jesus Christ with all my heart, I serve Christ, I share the gospel, but I never forcefully converted anyone. I don’t have any other books,'” he said.
Persecution on the Increase in India
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took power in May 2014, the hostile tone of his National Democratic Alliance government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against non-Hindus has emboldened Hindu extremists in several parts of the country to attack Christians, religious rights advocates say