Updated on 28 February, 2022
The first two months of 2022 saw two important wins for freedom of religion in the country. In both these cases, one from Uttar Pradesh and the other from Madhya Pradesh, ADF India allied lawyers secured justice for Christians who were targeted for their faith and wrongly put on long and arduous legal trials.
In September 2014, Pastor Vimal (name changed) and 9 other Christian missionaries serving in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh were falsely accused of alluring people to convert to Christianity by allegedly offering one lakh rupees. The Christians were also accused of asking people to replace images of their deities with that of Jesus Christ. In December 2016, all 10 Christians were convicted by the lower court under Section 295-A/34 and MP Religious Freedom Act, 1968. ADF India allied lawyers represented the Christians before the sessions court to revoke this unjust order and subsequently secured their acquittal on 16 February 2022.
On 23 September 2021, an FIR was registered against Pastor Ajit Nath (name changed) in Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh, alleging forced conversion by use of supernatural powers u/s 295 (A) IPC and u/s 7 of the Drug and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements) Act, 1954. ADF India allied lawyers represented the pastor before the Hon'ble Allahabad High Court and had the complaint quashed vide order dated 10 December 2021. The case was successfully closed on 21 January 2022.
With the support of a nationwide network of allied lawyers and social activists, ADF India is currently pursuing over 260 similar cases (including those at the Supreme Court and various High Courts) to ensure that every Indian can live out their constitutional right to profess, practise, and propagate the religion of one's choice.
In another such recent case, a pastor from Varanasi, who was arrested on 31 August 2021 on baseless charges of forced conversion, was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court. ADF India allied lawyers were representing him in the matter.
The pastor, who was arrested in Azamgarh, was booked under FORA and had been in jail for 150 days. Even though ADF India has successfully secured his bail, the trial is ongoing, and your prayers as well as your support are sought in this, and many such ongoing cases.
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