INDIA: PASTORS ARRESTED UNDER CONVERSION LAW
A number of pastors in Uttar Pradesh state have been arrested and detained without bail under the state’s anti-conversion law during the past few months.
Police arrested and jailed Pastor Nandu Nathaniel and his wife Savita Singh early last month.
Pastor Nandu has been a pastor in an independent church for 12 years. On October 3, he was leading the Sunday church service when a police team stopped the worship and took him and his wife to the Kotwali police station where they were arrested on conversion charges and sent to Azamgarh district jail. Bail has twice been denied.
Nandu’s arrest follows that of another pastor in Uttar Pradesh called Ramchand who was detained in August on conversion charges.
Pastor Ramchand was leading a prayer meeting when a group of local fanatics along with a team of plainclothes police officers turned up and told him that they wanted to know more about Jesus Christ. They left but then shortly afterwards another team of officers arrived and accused the pastor of conversion activities. Ramchand was arrested. Two attempts to secure bail have been unsuccessful although his lawyer is now applying for bail in Allahabad High Court.
Also in jail is Pastor Shayam Sundhar who was detained under the anti-conversion law in September. He has been threatened many times by local fanatics. Similarly his bail applications have also been denied.
Four other pastors are also in prison in Uttar Pradesh: Shakeel Abraham, Vijender Rajbar, Rajesh Rajbar and Abhisaik Rajbar.
(Source: Release partners)
Christian nurses bailed
In August we asked supporters to pray for Christian nurses Mariam Lal and Navish Arooj who were charged with ‘defiling the Koran’ after they followed their supervisor’s instructions to remove Islamic stickers from their hospital in Faisalabad, Pakistan.
In an unprecedented court decision, kept secret for two months to avoid an Islamist backlash, a trial court judge is understood to have granted them bail.
‘This is an unprecedented decision by any sessions court in a blasphemy case,’ attorney Atif Jamil Paggan told Morning Star News.
‘Both women are currently in a safe location,’ Paggan said. ‘They are very happy and relieved after this court victory, and we are optimistic that the court will absolve them of the charge once the trial concludes.’
(Source: Morning Star News)
- That God would be close to all jailed pastors in India mentioned above and protect them.
- That their bail applications would be successful and they would be released as soon as possible.
- That charges against the pastors would be dropped.
- Pray that the widely misused section 295-B blasphemy laws in Pakistan would be repealed.
- Thank God for the successful bail applications of nurses Mariam Lal and Nawish Arooj. Pray the charge against them will be dropped and that, after the case is concluded, they will be able to live in safety.
- Praise God for the commitment to justice of the trial court judge. Pray that others in the judiciary would follow suit and not be intimidated by extremists.