Three Christians arrested on charges of religious conversion in Madhya Pradesh
The accused had organised a medical camp but told the villagers that they would be cured of their ailments if they embraced the cross and started believing in Jesus Christ.
Three Christians were arrested from a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Khandwa district on charges of converting people on Sunday, officials said on Tuesday, in what is being perceived as an attack on minorities in the state.
Piplod police station in charge sub-inspector Shivram Patidar said they arrested Amarsingh, 35, of Khaknar Burhanpur, Kishor Barela, 30, Kalukhedi, and Prabhakar Barela, 39, of Jalgaon in Maharashtra from Sitabedi village, and booked them under the state’s anti-conversion law – the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam.
“They were produced before a local court and sent to jail,” Patidar said.
Police said the accused had organised a medical camp but told the villagers that they would be cured of their ailments if they embraced the cross and started believing in Jesus Christ.
Patidar said the men belong to Delhi-based Indian Evangelical Team.
He said a man called Raju Barela submitted a written complaint following which the arrests were made around 3pm on Sunday. Patidar said a cross and religious literature were seized from the camp that was being attended by about 40 to 50 villagers.
Raju said he attended the camp because he had a stomachache and a headache. He added that when the organisers started talking about Jesus Christ, he left the camp and approached the police.
Indian Evangelical team administrator Jais Varghese denied that any conversion was going on in the camp.
“These are false accusations. From what I could gather from my sources, it was a planned prayer meeting on Palm Sunday going on in the village when some people came with the police and made these charges and arrested the three persons,” Varghese told Hindustan Times over the phone from Delhi.
This is not the first time that charges of conversion have been slapped against Christians in the state under the tough anti-conversion law. There have been at least 4 such cases reported in the last two years in the state.
December 28, 2015: 3 preachers arrested from Morani village, Barwani
January 18, 2016: 12 arrested from Dhar district
May 23, 2016: 3 arrested from Satna district
June 23, 2016: 2 arrested from Rewa district