International Christian Concern, November 30, 2022 (excerpts)
Nine Christian pastors were arrested and jailed on false charges of conversion activities in Azamgarh, in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, on Monday.
The pastors and a recently married Christian couple were arrested by police at a wedding reception. Radical Hindu nationalists pressured the police to act against the Christians.
Witnesses told how the pastor of an Assemblies of God Church hosted a wedding reception at his house for his daughter and son-in-law. During the reception, police raided the home and confiscated Bibles and other Christian items, alleging that the gathering was a conversion program. The pastor explained that it was purely a wedding reception for his daughter, but police ignored his pleas and arrested the pastors and the newly wedded couple.
“These days are very challenging days in our state,” a Christian leader from Uttar Pradesh said. “More than 200 churches were shut down in the last few months, and 52 pastors and Christians are reeling in the prisons across the state of Uttar Pradesh.”
Another Christian leader said, “Christians are living under the fear of being targeted and attacked for no reason, and police just need a complaint for them to act and send them to jail under the anti-conversion law.”
The United Christian Forum (UCF) recently released a report which said that violence against Indian Christians is at an all-time high. This year saw the highest spike in incidents across India. Uttar Pradesh was the most egregious, with 149 attacks against Christians.