Sixteen incidents against Christians in 100 days of Yogi government in Uttar Pradesh
Yogi Adityanath was sworned in as the 21st Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh on 19 March 2017. Since he assumed office at least 16 incidents of hate crimes against Christians have been reported from various parts of Uttar Pradesh in the first 100 days of his government. A partial list of hate crime against Christians in the state, as reported by the Evangelical Fellowship of India, is given below:
1. On 19 March, in Krishna Nagar Colony, Hardoi, Pastor Manoj Kumar was threatened by two activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, in the presence of the media. Kumar was told that he would not be allowed to conduct Sunday worship from the next Sunday onwards.
2. On 26 March 2017, in Lakhimpur, Kheri, around 50 Hindu extremists disrupted worship service in a Church and stopped it. The pastor, along with some Christians was arrested and taken to the local police station. They were later released from the police custody.
3. On 29 March in village Khaira Muhammd Pur, district Mau, Pastor Haribansh Masih and three Christians were attacked by six men of the same village. Pastor Masih, who was helping in the house construction of Shyam Sundar, a member of his Church, bled from his nose in the assault. An FIR was registered against the assaulters by the Christians under IPC section 323, 506 and 147.
4. On 29 March, in Agra, six Christians were attacked by a mob of about 20 Hindu extremists and were handed to the local police after being severely assaulted. The Christians were booked under Indian Penal Code section 153 B (Imputations and assertions prejudicial to national-integration). The assault took place after Pastor Mahesh Chand and others were returning after praying in the house of a Christian.
5. On 9 April in Dullahpur village of Ghazipur, Pastor Krishna Paul ministering in the Believers Church was attacked by the local liquor mafia with the help of Hindu extremists of the village. He was taken to the local police station on allegations of supporting the women of that area who were agitating against the liquor shop situated near the Church. Paul was later released in the evening after Christian leaders approached the police and gave a written statement.
6. On 12 April in Jaunpur, Pastor Rajendra Chauhan’s house was raided in order to take him into police custody so that he would not conduct Easter service in his Church. In a similar incident Pastor Ashok Rajbhar in Saraiya village, Mariahu tehsil of Jaunpur also received threats and police complaint. Both the pastors demanded police protection for their respective Churches on Easter, which was granted and the Service was held peacefully.
7. On 1 May in Ghazipur, Hindu extremists attacked 20 Christian families including verbally abusing them and indecently assaulting the female pastor who leads them. Pastor Pushpa was receiving threats from the Hindu villagers to discontinue Sunday worship in the village for the past few days. Pushpa approached the local police, who were not of much help.
8. On 7 May in Jaunpur, policemen belonging to the Jalalpur Police Station, disrupted the Sunday worship service being led by Sunita Maurya with around 100 people in attendance. Maurya was arrested at the complaint of some high caste Hindus of the same village. The police officials demanded legal documentation for running a Church in the area.
9. On 9 May in Mau district, six Christians including pastors were arrested by the police after strong opposition from the Hindu extremists. The Christians had organised a prayer meeting and they were booked under Indian Penal Code section 153 A.
10. On 14 May in Pratab Vihar, Vakil Colony, Ghaziabad, a church worship service was disrupted by a group of Hindutva extremists and they beat up the pastor and faithful present. The attackers kept all the women and children aside and they started to beat up the pastor and all the men in the church. The pastor got multiple injuries on his leg and was unable to walk because of the beatings. The attackers also damaged instruments and other things which were kept in the church. The church members went to the nearby police station and filed a complaint against the attackers.
11. On 19 May in Bhadohi, around 25 – 30 Hindu extremists said to be belonging to the VHP surrounded the Good Shepherd Church and shouted anti-Christian slogans. They threatened the Pastor of the Church – Pastor Abraham to discontinue church activities else they will destroy the Church building. Pastor Abraham was detained by the local police and kept in the safe custody to avoid any physical attack on him by the mob.
12. On 2 June in Safipur town, Unnao district, Pastor Sahdev Prasad was threatened by a police official in the Safipur police station. The police officer asked him to stop Christian activities and to produce a letter of permission for conducting Church services. The police acted at the complaint received from local Hindu extremists who blamed Pastor Prasad of conducting forceful conversion. Prasad leads the Love of God Church where around 500 people gather to worship.
13. On 11 June in Jaunpur, Pastor Durga Yadav was beaten and threatened by the police asking him to not to conduct Sunday service in his Church. Pastor Yadav has been leading the Jeevan Jyoti Seva Ashram for the past five years. He was blamed for carrying out forceful conversion and was asked to submit proper permissions for conducting Church services. When Yadav approached the higher authorities for a letter, he was refused and was instead warned by the officer to stop conducting Church and leave the village.
14. On 25 June in village Mishrik, Sitapur district, four policemen disrupted an ongoing Sunday worship service. They threatened the worshippers present and asked them not to come for worship service anymore and scattered them. Using abusive words, they warned Evangelist Vishwanath & Paragilal to discontinue the worship or else they would be charged under with forceful conversions under the Indian Penal Code.
15. On 25 June in Bairia town of Ballia district, a prayer meeting taking place in a house was disrupted by 25-30 activists of Hindu Yuva Vahini and the Christians present were assaulted. Pastor Vijay Ram (of New Life League Church) and two Christian, Anil Kumar
Yadav and Gopal Ram were forcefully taken to the Bairia Police station on the pretext that forceful conversion was taking place in the prayer meeting. It is reported that though there was substantial pressure on the police by the local Member of Legislative Assembly to arrest the Christians, the police finding the accusations false against the Christians, set them free.
16. On 25 June in village Grem of Bareilly district, three Christians were arrested from the house of Mahendra Gangwaar by the police after the members of the Vishva Hindu Parishad reported that “conversion activity was taking place under the guise of Sunday worship service”. The police arrested the three Christians.