25 Preachers Accused of 'Forced Conversions' in India

According to CBNNews, authorities in India's eastern state of Jharkhand have accused 25 evangelists of allegedly trying to convert tribal Hindu villagers to Christianity.

The said Preachers (seven of whom are women) were said sharing the gospel in a remote village situated east of the state's capital when they were confronted by local villagers who were angered by their evangelistic activities.

"The villagers became angry when they began making disparaging comments about tribal places of worship — locally called 'Manjhi Than' and 'Jaher Than' —saying that Satan resided in such places," a senior police officer with knowledge on the case told localmedia. "Angry villagers asked them to stop but they did not."

The evangelists were forced to stop preaching and were subsequently held hostage by the village chief.

"They (villagers) detained them overnight," one police officer said. "In the morning, they informed the police and handed them over to us. There was no physical violence or heckling involved."

Sixteen of the 25 Christians were arrested and charged with violating India's Freedom of Religion Act which punishes an individual for trying to change a person's religion based on "allurement, coercion or cheating."

Jharkhand was among a handful of Indian states to adopt the controversial law in September 2017 which imposes a fine and three-year prison sentence for anyone found guilty of forced conversion.

Critics argue the legislation is nothing short of an anti-conversion law and is often used by radical Hindu groups to make false accusations against Christians or to justify attacks against them.

According to press accounts, the Christians set-up loudspeakers in the village and began inviting people to learn more about Christianity. This was reportedly the team's second time to the village. Their previous visit was also met with resistance.

The village chief lodged a formal complaint to police accusing the evangelists of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity. The evangelists have denied the charge.

Police said they confiscated various Christian literature, books, posters and audio material found in the group's possession.

The arrest comes as violence against Christians in India continues to rise.

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25 Preachers Accused of 'Forced Conversions' in India
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  1. God have mercy,it's our duty to pray for those who are out there taking risks for the sake of the gospel anytime we are praying!