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Niz Goenkar
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Indian Pastor Arrested With False Allegation
Thursday - Dec 29, 2022
Lucknow: A priest in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has been arrested by police under a fake and false allegation of allegedly “enticing”, about 100 people to “convert to Christianity”. Local police claimed 43-year-old pastor Paulus Masih attempted to convert nearly 100 people on Christmas eve. The incident was reported from Sohna village in the Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh. He was arrested after right-wing activist Rajeev Yadav complained to the local police about the gathering in Sohna village and was quoted by the Times of India as alleging that the pastor was “enticing” the people to “convert”.
 
Police that acted at the behest of RSS and VHP said no prior permission was taken to hold the event. It was reported that the pastor held a mass in an open ground on 24 December and addressed those gathered there on the day. In a video that has surfaced of the incident, Pastor Masih can be heard telling his audience about the benefits of being a Christian. It was reported that the priest later said the motive of the prayer meeting was not to hurt anyone’s sentiments.
 
The police, in a statement, said that “a case has been registered under sections 3 and 5 of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, against pastor Masih on the complaint of Rajeev Yadav, a right-wing activist.” Police also said that “the pastor has been sent to jail” and “no prior permission was taken to hold the event”. According to the police complaint, Mr Yadav, the complainant, alleged that the “pastor conducts meetings in the village every Sunday and shares views with the locals. He is said to have converted many villagers and police will find out the truth after further investigation”.
 
A local villager, who was present at the religious mass in Sohna was quoted by the Press as saying that “the pastor was telling us good things about his religion. He was also talking about respect in society and free education. Police may now come to our village. We are all scared. He did nothing wrong”.

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