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Women holding signs demanding freedom for Christian Dalits

On July 30th, six Christian women in the Maharajganj area of Uttar Pradesh, India, were taken into custody based on charges of forced conversions. The charges were laid after members of a Hindu nationalist group, the VHP, alleged that the women were inducing others to convert to Christianity during a birthday party.

At the celebratory gathering, the Christian women had paused to pray before cutting the cake. Ashutosh Singh, a local VHP leader, said: "They had raised their hands in the air as Jesus would. They were trying to convert Harijan women." He continued with claims that the six believers were carrying out illicit activities, such as luring others with money. Bibles and other religious documents were confiscated and submitted to police authorities, who proceeded to make the arrests. The women were held in custody without bail.

All six of these women belong to the very poor socio‑economic Dalit community. One of them is physically disabled, as is the child of another woman in the arrested group. Included in the July 30th arrests was a widow with three young children, and an unmarried girl. Munish Chandra, a lawyer representing the six arrested Christians, stated that "the rest of their families are suffering enormously since they are all dependent on the women."

While trying to cope with their plights, the women's family members blamed their local pastor for the arrests, demanding that he get them released from custody as soon as possible. However, Munish maintains that the charges were motivated by "right‑wing fanatic organizations being backed by the government to gain popularity or benefit politically." The women were scheduled to appear in court on August 16th. For more accounts of persecution perpetrated against Christians in India, go to our country report.

Pray that the truth will prevail and that these unjustly accused women will soon be released from custody and reunited with their families. May God work powerfully in the minds and hearts of their accusers, leading each one to eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Please also pray that the government of India will maintain its constitutionally secular position and not be pressured by radical religious groups that are trying to control the national agenda.

Current Ministry Projects

In addition to providing persecuted Christians legal support and rehabilitation assistance, VOMC cares for children of martyrs by ensuring they have a safe home in which to be nurtured both physically and spiritually. VOMC also partners to equip Christians in India with Biblical training and offers specialized ministry to further strengthen and support marginalized, persecuted Christian women.

Project Funds: Families of Martyrs, Equipping the Saints, Legal Defence, Relief and Development, Women’s Ministry

Country Information

Designation
Persecuted

Population
1,339,330,514 (July 2021 est.)

Ethnicity (%)
Indo-Aryan (72), Dravidian (25), Mongoloid and other (3)

Religion (%)
Hinduism (79.8), Muslim (14.2), Christianity (2.3), Sikh (1.7), other (2)

Leader
President Ram Nath Kovind (2017)

Government type
Federal parliamentary republic

Legal system
Based on English common law; separate personal law codes apply to Christians, Hindus and Muslims.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Pray for India

Despite the intimidation and violence that have taken place in many of India's states, may Christians wisely yet unashamedly preach the Gospel. Pray that indigenous Christians and foreign missionaries will minister in ways that do not hint at fraudulent conversions, unmasking the intentions behind the anti-conversion legislation. Intercede for India's leaders, that they may reign with justice and righteousness.

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