Chhattisgarh: Pastor among 2 held for 'attempting religious conversions'

Representative image | Photo: AFP

Jashpur (Chattisgarh): Two persons including a pastor were arrested for allegedly attempting religious conversions of locals in Chhattisgarh's Jashpur on Sunday, said the police.

The accused, identified as Pastor Christopher Tirki and Jyoti Prakash Toppo, were arrested from Bhalutola locality under Bagiya village panchayat following a complaint.

Tirki and Toppo, who have been booked under the Indian Penal Code and Freedom of Religion Act, allegedly converted local tribals to Christianity at the Toppo's house in the village, said the police.

"A case under sections 295A and 34 of IPC and section 4 of the Freedom of Religion Act has been registered. Further probe on", said Manish Kunwar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Jashpur

"Sixty-eight people from 25 families of the Kanwar tribe, were involved in the prayer meeting by Christian pastors on Sunday," alleged Vishwa Hindu Parishad's division co-minister Rajesh Gupta.

He further said, "the police and administration are active to stop the conversion. At the same time, Hindu organizations are also actively stopping the conversion by giving constant advice to the converts."

He also said that "all this is happening in the village of state BJP president Vishnudev Sai which is worrying."

"The police arrested two people including pastor Christopher Tirki and Jyoti Prakash Toppo and presented them to the court from where both the accused are being sent to jail on judicial remand," he added.

"People are putting allegations against us that we are doing the conversion. We don't carry out conversions. Conversion is the issue of court and constitution. People coming to our church have not converted themselves illegally. They have converted themselves legally," said pastor Sudhir Tirki, a member of Fellowship of the Pentecostal Churches in India (FPCGI).

"People come to our church to worship and not for conversions. We will file a counter FIR," he added.

On VHP's allegations, he said, "it is a false allegation. People can go anywhere to worship under article 25 of the Constitution. We have never converted anyone. We don't have the right. The process of conversion takes place lawfully. Our work is to impart Bible's teachings."


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