Wednesday, February 21, 2024

UP harshest state in India in religious freedom violations, says global Christian body

A congregation of 100 Christians celebrating a Maundy Thursday service in Uttar Pradesh’s Fathepur District were threatened by Hindutva mob who surrounded the church and subsequently locked the doors.

The incident happened on 14 April.

A First Information Report (FIR Number 0224) was also lodged against 36 Christians on alleged forced conversion charges.

The police filed the FIR based on Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion laws after a Hindutva leader Himanshu Dikshit, complained that the church was working to convert Hindus to the Christian faith.

“This is a perfect portrayal of Jesus’ suffering 2000 years ago. We know Jesus endured, and we will,” one of the targeted Christians said.

“Sadly, Uttar Pradesh is one of the harshest states in India regarding religious freedom violations,” said International Christian Concern President Jeff King.

“When the Indian authorities validate the actions of a violent mob by jailing the mob’s victims, they are sending a message that criminal activity is approved by the authorities whenever it targets religious minorities. This type of legal posture only worsens the religious freedom climate and further increases the vulnerability of Christians to more violence,” he added.

According to King, the anti-conversion laws are “inherently subjective, and perception-based, therefore completely restricting the rights of Christians to public expressions of their faith.”

International Christian Concern is a non-governmental Christian organization, located in Washington, DC, whose concern is the human rights of Christians and religious minorities

Maundy Thursday–or Holy Thursday–is a time many Christians gather to celebrate Jesus’ final Passover with his disciples, his commandment to love one another, and his service to others through the washing of feet.

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