Thousands of Bribing Villagers Join Christianity to Protest Jailing of Christians Accused in India

This photo showing a Christian minister baptizes new Christian converts in Nagpur, India.
Close to 5,000 Christians marched through the streets in India's Jharkhand state on Monday in protest against the jailing of six believers last week who were accused of trying to bribe villagers with money and convert them to the faith.

"We wanted them to be released because they are innocent people who gathered for a prayer," said Gladson Dungdung, a Catholic leader, one of the organizers of the silent protest, according to

The arrested Christians are reportedly six Pentecostals from Tukupani village in Simdega district, who last week were denied bail. They were arrested after a village chief accused them of offering money to indigenous people to become Christians.

Dungdung said that the bail for the five men and one woman was denied "seemingly under pressure from higher ups."

He added that they will be appealing to a higher court, however.

Bishop Vincent Barwa of Simdega warned that an "atmosphere of suspicion" has been created after controversial anti-conversion laws were passed in August by the state's pro-Hindu government, which blocks conversion through force or allurement or fraudulent means.

Dungdung said the arrests send a "clear message that the new anti-conversion law will be used as a tool to check the activities of some people and groups. Christians will have a tough time ahead."

Another six Christians were arrested back in May for taking 72 children to a Vacation Bible School camp in Madhya Pradesh state, and were charged with kidnapping and forcible conversions after police refused to recognize the children as Christians.

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