Christians in India arrested after charged with religious conversion

Three Christians have been arrested in the Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh in India on Sunday after they were charged with converting people to another religion, according to officials.

(REUTERS / Adnan Abidi)A girl runs for cover as it rains as monsoon clouds gather over Meerwada village in Guna district in Madhya Pradesh June 19, 2012.

Shivram Patidar, the sub-inspector in charge of the Piplod police statin, said the three Christians were charged with violating the state's anti-conversion law. Amarsingh, 35, Kishor Barela, 30, and Prabhakar Barela, 39, faced court before they were put behind bars, The Hindustan Times details.

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Police said the three Christians, who were members of the Indian Evangelical Team in Delhi, had organized a medical camp in a village in Khandwa. However, they allegedly told the residents that they would be healed if they converted to Christianity.

Indian Evangelical Team, on the other hand, has denied the charges. Team administrator Jais Varghese said the prayer activity on Palm Sunday was planned ahead of time.

""These are false accusations," Varghese told the Times via phone. "From what I could gather from my sources, it was a planned prayer meeting on Palm Sunday going on in the village when some people came with the police and made these charges and arrested the three persons."

Meanwhile, workers of the organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said they have converted at least 53 tribal families to Hinduism in Jharkhand. The campaign was part of the organization's efforts to create a "Christianity-free" block in the villages, the Times reported on April 10.

The RSS claims that Christian missionaries have "hijacked" the state in the last decade. The organization denied that they had converted the locals, saying they only led the "lost" people back to Hinduism

"You cannot call it conversion. We are only bringing our lost brothers and sisters back to their religion," said campaign leader RSS Saiyojak Laxman Singh Munda. "We want a Christianity-free block. The villagers will soon return to their roots."

RSS had performed a ceremony called ghar wapsi, which means homecoming in Hindi. Hindu organizations have launched this campaign to convert non-Hindus.

It is worth noting that the RSS and its other affiliate groups have reportedly been accused of forcing people into religious conversions.

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