Two pastors were arrested by Karnataka State Police at Madya District in Karnataka State, India on May 19, based on a complaint lodged by a group of Hindu radicals on alleged charges of forceful conversion in a children’s program.
According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Pastors Shanth Kumar (27) & Nagesh Kumar (35) had organized a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for the village children for three days and there were about 35-40 children who participated in the program. News sources reported that the arrests were carried out at around 1.30 pm when about 30 people belonging to Hindu Radical groups Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janatha Party forced their way inside the meeting hall and accused the pastors of forced conversion.
The radicals then took both pastors along with two other students Mahesh (15) Appu (14) to the Police Station. The police Officer in Charge at the Police Station charged the pastors with a non-bailable case and sent them to the Court and thereafter the court sent the pastors to Jail. Police released Mahesh and Appu and were sent home, as they were minors.
Pastor Shanth Kumar works for Youth Mission Movement and Pastor Nagesh Kumar works for Campus Crusade for Christ.
News sources later reported that on May 20 bail was granted to the arrested pastors on the intervention of the GCIC on their behalf.
James Varghese is a reporter for Masihat newspaper in India, and is also a freelance journalist working for ANS.