Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Blind couple among 13 in Madhya Pradesh held for ‘conversion’

Madhya Pradesh police have arrested 13 people, including a blind couple, for allegedly trying to convert a few residents of Dehar village in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district to Christianity.

Officers from the Kukshi station said they had also launched a search for four more persons in connection with the alleged conversion attempt in the house of a local resident, Shankar Singh, on January 14.

Twelve of those arrested last week — the 13th arrest was recorded yesterday — are linked to a Pentecostal church in Badwani and claimed that they had not converted but only followed the teachings of Jesus, said police.

All the arrested were booked under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act and Section 153 (A) of the IPC, said police. Among those were Balu Keshu Saste, a blind man in his 40s, and his wife Bhuri, said police, adding that Saste had earlier been detained for a similar offence in 2010; the trial is on at a court in Kukshi.

“They trick local residents by offering inducements or using force. We had received information that the conversion was on,’’ U C Tiwari, in-charge of Kukshi station, told The Indian Express. Shankar Singh, however, accused the police of acting at the behest of right-wing activists from Nisarpura village, who he alleged led the police to his house when he was serving the visitors lunch. “They stormed my house and misbehaved with women,’’ alleged Singh. 

Badwani-based Anar Singh, who identified himself as an assistant to a pastor, said the activists also raised slogans and damaged two-wheelers before police completed the arrests.

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