An Indian pastor was beaten up by Hindu nationalists, then arrested by police on Monday (18 June) for allegedly forcing some local families in Muzaffarnagar, a city in Uttar Pradesh state, to convert to Christianity, reports The Times of India.
Dipender Prakash was reportedly attacked by members of Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu nationalist organisation because he had visited a lawyer in Sardhana town, 40km south of Muzaffarnagar, to have 11 affidavits from newly converted Christians attested by a notary. (With more Indian states introducing and implementing anti-conversion legislation, some churches now require new converts to sign an affidavit, in which they declare that they are attending church out of their own free will and were not forced.)
Responding to a complaint filed by a member of the Bajrang Dal, the police soon arrived at the scene and arrested the pastor and the lawyer he was visiting.
Because of protests from other lawyers, they soon let the lawyer go, but kept the pastor in detention on charges under CRPC section 151 for “causing a disturbance of the public peace”.
A Bajrang Dal spokesperson told The Times of India: “Dipender Prakash was fraudulently trying to convert 11 persons when we caught him.”
Milan Som, who filed the police complaint, added: “Despite being a resident of Muzaffarnagar, why this pastor came to Sardhana is itself a matter of investigation.”