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Published on 08 June, 2006

Christians’ vindication does not change persecution trouble in India.

India (MNN)–Courts in India’s Madhya Pradesh State acquitted 16 Christians of homicide charges this week.
The group was taken into custody following clashes between Christians and Rashtrya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) members that took place in January 2004. News reports indicate the arrests followed the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl in a school run by the Church.

An RSS member was killed and 10 others were injured in the melee. That led police to charge 16 Christians under various sections of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Though the group had repeatedly been denied bail by the Madhya Pradesh High Court and Supreme Court, court officials this week were told to speed the process up. News reports indicate the court found that testimonies and other evidence had been deliberately fabricated and manipulated. Being squeezed by a May 31 deadline, authorities had no choice but to cite ‘lack of evidence’ in their acquittal.

Most of the group has been jailed for over two years. Their release, while good news, has done little to ease tensions in that state.

Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton. “This is not, unfortunately, an end to persecution in India. There are still radical Hindu groups who are coming against the church, are coming against Christians. There’s still anti conversion legislation, which makes it very difficult for outreach. It makes it very difficult for mission activity.”

Nettleton goes on to say that the verdict may be challenged because of the case’s link to religion. Further persecution in the state is expected. In response, “We are vastly expanding our efforts in India as we see the persecution there vastly expanding, and working very diligently to try to support the church and strengthen them and equip them for this time of trial.”

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About India

  • Primary Language: Hindi
  • Primary Religion: Hinduism
  • Evangelical: 2.2%
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