Christians Protest Continued Harassment in Madhya Pradesh

Published 03 November 2017  |  
AP

Christian leaders in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, have demonstrated a protest against the continued harassment after the recent arrest by Railway Police accusing two Pentecostal Christians of kidnapping children in an attempt to convert them.

Anita Joseph, 50, and Amrit Kumar, 51, were detained on Oct. 23 by Railway Police following a complaint from Hindu organizations of abducting six minor children and taking them to Kerala for conversion. The children were handed over to Childline, a child protection organization.

Inspector Kunwarlal Warkade said Anita and Kumar were booked under Sections 363 for kidnapping and 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act.

Upon investigation, it was revealed that the children were from Christian families. They were escorted to a prayer meeting. The police also acknowledged that the children's parents were aware of the journey and had come to the railway station to drop them.

Still the two adults could face seven years in prison if convicted.

"This type of repeated harassment only on the Christians is very disturbing," said Fr Maria Stephen, the Public Relations Officer for the Archdiocese of Bhopal.

"The authorities have no patience to find out the reality and framing them as if they are going to convert is to be condemned," he added.

Indore is the largest city in Madhya Pradesh, with over 90 percent Hindus and less than 1 percent Christians. The state is ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

"The [Hindu] fundamentalists consider the Christians as easy means to make their presence louder for their ulterior motives," said Stephen, according to Crux.

"We request the authorities to protect the fundamental rights of every citizen to travel freely with any one and everywhere, to practice and propagate one's own faith and freedom of speech with responsibility," he added.

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