In Uttar Pradesh a Pentecostal pastor has been released on bail, after having been arrested on the false charge of having forcibly converted people to Christianity.

The case broke out 2 weeks ago, this local Pastor from the Sardhana area of Meerut, Dipendra Prakash Malewar was brutally attacked and beaten by workers of Bajrang Dal and VHP in the premise of a local court in Sardhana. The policemen acted following a complaint lodged by the local leader Milind Som. The pastor, who was accompanied by his advocate, was thrashed by the Hindutva workers and handed over to the police. They snatched affidavits of seventeen Hindu families who wanted to convert to Christianity. Instead of taking action against the attackers, the local police arrested the pastor for “illegal and forcible conversion”.

The affidavit is a mandatory document in the Indian states that have approved anti-conversion laws. This is a form filled out by the faithful who wishes to change their creed and countersigned by the priest, who certifies that the conversion was free, spontaneous and not induced. It is presented in court to the district tax collector, who examines and issues an opinion. In this case, the local Pastor of Sardhana was getting the affidavits made with the signature of the people who wanted to convert, only as a precaution. So that everything is legal. Otherwise even the affidavits were not needed for anyone to convert in UP.

The VHP and Bajrang Dal workers accused the Pastor of “forcibly converting” the local Hindus and threatened him against living in the area. Later the investigation conducted by local Non-Governmental organizations showed that the families wanted to convert of their own will and Pastor Malewar only wanted to make legal affidavits to avoid allegations of “forcible conversion”.

Many families for whom the Pastor was making the affidavits in the Sardhana court, told that no one pressurized them to convert.

Unfortunately, often in States like UP, when someone approach the authorities asking why they arrested the Christians instead of arresting the Hindutva goons who attacked them, they tell that the mob was aggressive and Christians were arrested to ensure their protection and safety from the mob. By giving this twisted logic, the officials in a way admit that it was a mob rule and the rule of law has no control.