Christians in eastern India were worshipping on April 29 when Hindu extremists attacked and had them arrested on baseless accusations of operating a “conversion racket,” sources said.
Three of seven Christians arrested have been in jail since then, and yesterday a judge in Danapur, Bihar state, rejected their plea for bail.
Some 60 Hindu extremists stormed into the house church service where 50 Christians had gathered to worship, 19-year-old Angel Pariyar told Morning Star News. “It was a difficult and tense moment for us,” she said. “A huge crowd surrounded our house, and they stopped us from even going inside our own house. We were made to stand outside as they called up police and reported against us, calling our worship service a ‘conversion racket.’”
The mob, members of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Bajrang Dal and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (student wing of RSS), harassed and attacked women, but when police arrived they arrested Pariyar’s parents and other Christians, she said.
Her parents, Subash Kumar and wife Sarah, along with Ravi Singh, Rajni Pradhan, Suraj Pradhan, Amit Kumar and Santoshi Devi, were taken into custody by Rupaspur police after the assault. Her parents and aunt, Rajni Pradhan, remain incarcerated.
“60 Hindu youth activists showed up at the entrance of our house and started shouting at us, ‘Why are you converting people?’ and abused my family in filthy language,” Pariyar said. “My mum told the youths that we are only worshipping in our house and asked, ‘Why are you interfering in this?’”
Pariyar’s family, of Nepalese descent, has lived in India for generations, and the assailants used highly derogatory language as they accused them of coming from Nepal to convert Indian Hindus, she said.
At the Rupaspur police station, the station house officer initially said only that the Christians were accused of “anti-social activities.”
“We received a complaint that the Christian couple are involved in anti-social activities and hence have apprehended them,” Dipak Kumar told Morning Star News.
Asked what exactly the anti-social activities were, Kumar became furious.
“They are abusing Hindu gods and goddesses and are forcefully converting people,” he said.
Asked what kind of “force” they were using, Kumar said, “I filed the FIR [First Information Report] already. No more questions on this.”
He declined to provide a copy of the FIR or disclose the details in it.