Two Christian women in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka have been escorted to a police station by Hindu activists, who accused them of trying to convert other women, despite there being no complaints from the women themselves, reports Asia News.
According to the activists, the two women – known as Mercy and Rosaline – had visited six “Hindu houses”, where they had distributed Christian literature, trying to convert those present.
Officers found no religious material on the two women, who were released with a warning not to try to convert anyone.
“The women were doing only what the Constitution (Article 25) guarantees,” said Sajan George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians. “The police did not find them in possession of prohibited or dangerous material, weapons, or anti-national texts. There were no complaints from those to whom the sermons were addressed. No hate speech or complaints of forced conversions.”
Another incident last month in Karnataka saw a Christian convert also handed over to police by a group of Hindus on charges of forced conversions. The 63-year-old man, referred to in Asia News as Dorairaj, was accused of offering money to converts.
So-called “anti-conversion laws” in the Indian states of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha have made it an offence to convert a person’s religion by force. Penalties can be harsh – in Jharkhand, the most recent to pass the law, offenders may face up to four years’ imprisonment and fines of Rs 100,000 (US $1,600).