Police in India arrested 26 people and charged at least another 25 under anti-conversion laws on Good Friday.
The Times of India reported the incident that took place in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
Those arrested belonged to the Evangelical Church of India, and were accused of “illegally converting” around 90 Hindus. The complaint was made by an official of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and Hindu nationalist organization.
Those arrested were subsequently released.
Uttar Pradesh is India’s most populous state, with a population of over 200 million. It is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hindu nationalist party, which has controlled the national government since 2014.
Christians make up just 0.2 percent of the state’s population – less than a 10th of the national proportion – but are still often accused of “targeting” Hindus for conversion by illicit means.
Father Vineet Vincent Pereira, who serves in Uttar Pradesh, said the arrests were the work of a Hindu nationalist “terrorist.”
Pereira was himself arrested in 2018 for “unlawful assembly” and “rioting,” but was later released.
He said the Hindu nationalists complaining about Christians are “ignorant about God, Truth, worship, conversion, etc.”
“They go and distrust our prayer and worship. They simply blame Christians. They are not ready to listen to the truth, not ready to listen to the devotees,” he told Crux.
“They want publicity. It is all politically motivated by BJP, supported by the Hindu fundamentalists, the fanatics. Good Hindus do not disturb us. These are jobless people who are paid by the political parties to do such acts,” Pereira said.