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Pastor in Uttar Pradesh confused over arrest; fears future intimidation of the community

Tuesday, November 26, 2019, 1:43 (IST)

As the Uttar Pradesh government prepares to enact the anti-conversion law, attacks on Christians continues to increase in the state.

On November 17, local police stopped a house church Sunday worship in Sikhanderpur and took the head pastor of the church into custody on false accusation of religious conversions.

Pastor Khaia told International Christian Concern (ICC) that members of his congregation were disturbed and disillusioned over what happened during the Sunday worship service.

"The police did not disclose who complained against me or what evidence was given in order for police to act against me and take me into custody. I told the police that I am not involved in any religious conversions and that people come to my church to be prayed over and listen to teachings from the Bible," pastor Khaia said.

"I explained that I wouldn't tell anybody not to come or force anybody to attend the prayers. People come on their own wish and they say they feel good and the teachings are good for their lives. How can I stop people who want to attend?" pastor Khaia continued.

Though the police released pastor Khaia on the same day, the Christian leader expressed his confusion over what happened and said, "I am confused and worried as to whether I can hold prayers for the 150 faithful worshipers in Sikhanderpur."

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Commission submitted a draft against forced conversions asking for new "tougher" anti-conversion law as the current regulations were considered "insufficient."

Pastor Khaia and other Christians in Uttar Pradesh fear the passage of the bill will dramatically increase the hardships of the religious minorities, especially the Christian community in the state.