More than three dozen Christians in India's Uttar Pradesh were imprisoned by state authorities last month for violating the anti-conversion law.

India's Christians Suffer Persecution From Indian Police

The International Christian Concern (ICC) reported that Uttar Pradesh authorities turned a blind eye to the persecution the imprisoned 30 Christians experienced from the Hindu radicals who sent them to jail. ICC identified several incidents where the anti-conversion laws adopted by India's 11 states, including Uttar Pradesh, have been deployed against Christians who suffer imprisonment without due process.

One of the incidents happened last week on May 31 when a pastor was dragged out of his home and beaten by a group of radicals. The mob intruded on the pastor's home while he was praying with his family and assaulted him before turning him over to the police. The pastor was charged with malicious and deliberate acts against another religion through a First Information Report filed by the Uttar Pradesh police.

Another incident, which took place two days earlier, involved a group of young radicals who disrupted a Sunday service of 40 Christians praying in their church hall. The youngsters, estimated to be a maximum of 10, recorded on video how they harrassed the congregation before shoving the pastor to the ground. The youngsters left after stealing the pastor's Bible. Despite what happened, the police did not pursue the young radicals but instead arrested the pastor for a First Information Report complaint.

A local pastor told ICC that Christians are now scared since they can easily be framed by Hindu activists and imprisoned for the mere practice of their faith.

"We are scared to even conducting small group prayers even that can be framed as forcible conversions. Our lives are in danger, as Christian identity could put us behind the bars, we don't see any way out, only God should intervene," the pastor said.

Also Read: Christians In India Forced To Reconvert To Hinduism: Report

Christians In India Often Falsely Accused

Article 14, an organization focused on violations of the Constitution of India, raised that Uttar Pradesh police has become renowned for their string of arrests of Christian pastors who are charged with violating the anti-conversion law. The organization's writer Mohammad Sartaj Alam documented a string of violations that prove the growing attacks on Christians in the last eight months since October 2021 perpetrated by Uttar Pradesh police based on Hindutva groups' complaints.

While The Print highlighted that in April alone the Uttar Pradesh police in Fatehpur have booked 55 people for anti-conversion law violations with half or 26 already arrested. This includes a complaint made by Himanshu Dixit of the Vishva Hindu Parishad involving the Evangelical Church of India converting 90 Hindus into Christianity in the Hariharganj area.

The increase in persecution among Christians reportedly comes in the face of anti-conversion laws being enacted in several states, which are then used by extremists and even local authorities against Christians instead of their intended use to protect religious minorities. The Decan Herald reported that in mid-May there are already nine states in India that implement strict anti-conversion laws, with Karnataka being the most recent. Karnataka's anti-conversion law was implemented despite strong opposition from Christians, including a Catholic bishop, who raised it is used as a tool of persecution.

Early this year, a Congress leader from India raised that 2021 is the most violent year for Christians. This came before a Catholic forum that urged bishops to attend to the rising persecution against Christians.

India Home Minister Araga Jnanendra assured Christians last month that the anti-conversion laws do not "curtail Constitutional religious rights" nor "target any one religion." Jnanendra explained the law intends to keep security and peace intact among families, citing a lawmaker who "pointed out how religious conversions are wrecking families." The minister then stressed the government's commitment to enforcing the law strictly.

In addition, Times of India highlighted that the law includes conversions due to marriage--before or after it took place, which nullifies the marriage.

Related Article: Pastor Who Defended Christians Against Hindu Nationalists Killed In Central India