India's newly implemented anti-conversion law led to the arrest of Christians who were simply doing charity work.
A group of Christians was arrested on Dec. 19 for violating India's new anti-conversion law. According to Morning Star News, the group of believers was simply doing Charity work, giving out food and other aid to people in Uttar Pradesh when police officers came and arrested them.
Reports identified the arrested individuals as Mi Kyung Lee, a Korean Christian, Umesh Kumar, the Indian organizer overseeing the distribution of aid, and two women helping with the distribution of aid, Seema and Sandhya, two Indian women helping out with the distribution.
The four were charged under the newly enacted Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance in Greater Nodia, located in the Gautam Buddh Nagar District of Uttar Pradesh. They were arrested due to a false complaint that the officials received accusing them of convincing their recipients to convert.
Kumar denied the allegations and said they can prove that they did not ask anyone to convert. He clarified that they did not promise anyone any kind of money and all that their beneficiaries received were ration kits.
"We have proofs of our distribution and names and phone numbers of our beneficiaries, who can testify that we have not asked any of them to change their faith or religion," Kumar said in a statement.
The four appeared to court on Dec. 20 and were charged with violating Uttar Pradesh's new anti-conversion law and blasphemy by outraging the religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. The accused were all sent to jail.
The police complaint that led to the arrest claimed that a woman reported the four individuals for approaching her and asking her to visit a local Christian church in order to receive free rations. The woman went on to say that the four arrested individuals began to regularly visit her during the pandemic and offered her some amount of money if she will convert to Christianity.
In an interview, Masih said he believed that the local Hindu nationalists are the ones behind the false accusation. He said it could be a part of a well-planned conspiracy against them.
"Nobody even bothered to ask the arrested their side of the story," Masih declared.
He further added one strong reason why it would seem impossible for all of them to convince the citizens to convert to Christianity.
"What is shocking is that the driver, Umesh Kumar, and Sandhya are not even Christians," said Masih. "The local media have falsely reported them all to be Christians," he added.
Uttar Pradesh became the most recent state to enact the anti-conversion law. Individuals reported to be convincing citizens to convert into other religions are arrested and charged.
However, in places such as Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, and Uttrakhand, the similarly implemented laws are widely abused.
Radical nationalists use the rule to harass and assault Christians. They do so by falsely accusing believers of forcefully convincing citizens to convert, International Christian Concern reported.