Pastor & visiting Sisters arrested while being at home , Uttar Pradesh
Police arrested Pastor Shibu P Mathew was arrested and booked under Sections IPC 295A,153A.
Pastor ministers with an independent Church were over 200 believers gather, in tents built in an open field, belonging to a believer, in Jahanpur village in Bijua Block of Lakhimpur Kheri District in Uttar Pradesh.
On Sunday, 08th September, Pastor Shibu, his wife Bindu and 4 visiting sisters, were at home.
At around 1.45 pm, there was a loud knock on the door, interrupting their gathering. Peering through the window, Pastor saw a mob of nearly 100-120 standing outside the house, demanding they open the door to the house. Amidst the sloganeering, Pastor realized that the mob were accusing them of indulging in conversion activities.
The mob tried to force entry to the back door as well, but gave up when they realized that the door was locked. Realizing that Pastor and his family were not going to open the door, the enraged mob padlocked the door from outside.
Fearing for the lives of the believers and escalation of the situation, Pastor made a call to the local PhoolbeherPolice Station, alerting them about the mob attack and the circumstances.
Police rushed to the spot and took Pastor away to the Police station, in an attempt to diffuse the situations. However, religious fanatics were relentless and insisted that the Police arrest Pastor’s wife and the rest of the members at home.
Instigated by the fanatics, the Police went back to Pastor’s house and took the 4 sisters to the Police Station. However, Pastor Shibu was booked under section IPC 295A.153A. Based on the pictures of Baptism in his Mobile Phone.
The local Persecution Relief & Local Church Leaders put pressure on the Police to eventually secure the release of the 4 sisters by the end of the day.
Superintendent of AG Church, Pastor Shaji Varghese, called Persecution Relief to alert us about this incident.
Pastor Arun was also instrumental in providing support to Pastor. He will be applying for bail to secure his release today.
While Articles 25-28 of the Indian Constitution guarantee the right to freedom of religion to all citizens who all are residing within the territory of India, several Churches are forcibly shut down without any reason provided.
In 2018, Persecution Relief has recorded 477 incidents of hate-crimes against Christians. Uttar Pradesh recorded 129 incidents. – the most hostile state.
In the first six months of 2019, we have recorded 208 incidents of hate-crimes, with 39 incidents from Uttar Pradesh alone.
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