Eight Christians charged with kidnapping and forced conversions acquitted in Madhya Pradesh
Eight Christians charged with kidnapping 60 children for forcibly converting them to Christianity were acquitted on February 18 by the criminal court in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh.
The six men and two women falsely accused of the crime they never committed were arrested in May 2017 while they were accompanying a group of tribal children to a Bible summer camp in Nagpur.
The police separated the children from the adults and charged the eight Christians with kidnapping and forced conversions in accordance with the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act.
According to the law, anyone involved in conversion activities by offering money or other fraudulent means will be imprisoned for up to three years with a heavy fine. If the conversion involves tribals or Dalits, the imprisonment is extended to four years.
The accused Christians served three months in prison before being released on bail. Now, after more than two and a half years, justice has been granted to the condemned and the court has acquitted them as innocents.
Tehmina Arora, director of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) India said, “Justice has finally been done!”
“We must not forget the impact that similar false cases have on families. Nobody should be targeted for their faith. Anti-conversion laws are tools to harass and target Christians and should be repealed because they limit the freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution of India,” Arora added.
Activists appreciated the courage and faith of Christians against all odds. “These men and women remained full of grace in the face of the misfortune that was directed against them by biased authorities who carried forward a false narrative frequently used to target Christians,” the activists said.