Twelve people accused of converting to Christianity arrested in Madhya Pradesh, India on 14th January 2016. Seven of the twelve were released on bail on 17th January 2016.
According to UCA news sources, the twelve had gathered in Shankar Singh’s house to celebrate Markar Sankrati, a Hindu festival. After hearing false claims of the group’s conversion, Hindus gathered around the house accusing them of conversion and later handed them over to the police who arrested them.
Singh, while talking to a journalist said, “There was no conversion activity and no attempt to convert anyone.” Singh also said that he has faith in Jesus and regularly pray[s] to him and has been experiencing the love of God with the help of some ministers which had transformed his life.”Later I began to follow Jesus but am not a member of any church,” Singh added
Talking about the incident, Richard James, of the Rashtriya Isai Mahasang, a Christian forum in Madhya Pradesh, said, “The police are unleashing a reign of terror against minority groups, especially Christians since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party government took power more than a decade ago.”
The Anticonversion law in Madya Pradesh, India provides that a person who wishes to change religion must inform the district magistrate of his decision. The new provision also obliges the priests who preside a “conversion ceremony” to inform the state government a month before on the exact day, time and place in which the conversion takes place, providing for penalties if this does not happen. An administrative investigation of the police follows, to ascertain whether there are constraints. The laws, on paper, try to curb religious conversions made by force, deceit or flattery but in fact, the laws hinder the conversion in general and are manipulated by Hindu nationalist groups to hit religious minorities.