Christian Villagers Charged With “Forced Conversions” By Hindu Nationalists Released

Throughout India, Hindu nationalists have been using anti-conversion laws to charge Christians with “forced conversion” to have them imprisoned. In a recent case, two Christians accused of such charges have been released:

About 20 villagers questioning Christians gathered for worship in a home in Odisha state, India were animists who worshipped objects in nature and other gods, but Hindu nationalists had led them there.

“Why have you left your ancestral faith and begun following the Christian faith?” a few of them asked, in succession, accusing them of trying to convert everyone in Kendupada village, Dhenkanal District. “If everyone in the village becomes Christian, where would the village gods go?”

In an increasingly common phenomenon, Hindu nationalists trying to drive a wedge between tribal peoples and Christians had persuaded the villagers that those who had left their beliefs, sacrifices and other rituals had betrayed their ancestors, gods, and the country of India. The Hindu nationalists then obtain tribal support for political candidates and policies and introduce Hindu beliefs and practices into animist religious systems, analysts say.

They were told that no Christian would be allowed to stay in the village and strictly instructed them not to share the gospel with anybody,” said Sukanta Naik, a volunteer for the Evangelical Fellowship of India, who visited the 27 Christians after the mob attacked them that day

The villagers issued threats to the five families of the house church, pressuring them to return to their ancestral beliefs, and when the Christians refused to do so, the tribal animists and Hindu nationalists began to beat them, Naik said.

“They grabbed three women – Raibari, Sabita and Malati – and paraded them around the village while beating them severely,” he told Morning Star News.

The women sustained serious internal injuries, and Raibari, 54, injured her left eye, while the 26-year-old Sabita’s right hand was hurt. In all, seven Christians were reported to have sustained serious injuries as a result of the attack. (source)

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