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Christians falsely charged of unregistered medical practice in Madhya Pradesh
Tuesday, January 7, 2020, 0:09 (IST)
Two Christians and a pastor falsely accused of illegally practicing medicine were arrested in Madhya Pradesh after a mob of tribal villagers invaded their house-church worship service on December 10.
According to 35-year-old pastor Mukam Kiraad, one of the falsely accused, the tribal villagers were radicalized by Hindu nationalists.
The invaders carried guns and sharp weapons that were locally made, and covered them under the blankets they were wearing. They detained the entire Christian congregation within the house-church and stopped them from calling the police.
They took items like cell phones, Bibles, Christian literature from the church and sized pastor Kiraad's water bottle as evidence of crime and present it to the local police.
"Some of them began to film the worship service while others went out and locked us in from outside, so that we would not escape," pastor Kiraad told Morning Star New. "They disrupted the service and began to search the place while using vulgar language."
The invaders later called the local authorities, and five men and four women were taken into police custody for 10 hours.
"Everybody shared their faith testimony as the police personnel blamed me for forcefully converting villagers," pastor Kiraad said. "However, one policeman showed his appreciation towards me for doing such a good work and wondered why the villagers were putting such allegations on me."
The authorities released the nine Christians after 10 hours, but they called pastor Kiraad, 40-year-old Lalsingh Tomar and 38-year-old Nanliya Rawat back to the police station on December 16 where they were arrested and charged with illegally practicing medicine.
According to pastor Dilip Rawat of the Filadelfia Fellowship Church, the three Christians were arrested because of the pressure from tribal Hindu nationalists.
During the bail hearing in the local court, "We were taken before the judge, where I was asked what I do, to which I said I was a pastor and was conducting regular church service," pastor Kiraad told Morning Star News. "No bail plea was presented. The judge ordered us to be sent to jail."
Pastor Kiraad was confused to see his Bible, his water bottle and a few other items that were confiscated from the house-church being presented as evidence of crime against him at the court.
The three Christians and their attorney, Rahul Parihar, were shocked when they discovered that they were charged under a Madhya Pradesh state law prohibiting unregistered medical practice, punishable by up to three years in prison.
Their next hearing is on January 8 and "They will have to come for each hearing, which might fall once every 15 days, and the case may prolong for many years," Parihar told Morning Star News.