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FIACONA urges release of arbitrarily detained Indian couple

‌‌FIACONA demands that the government release Parton Abraham and his wife from custody immediately and grant them a fair trial.

Image - LinkedIn/FIACONA

The Federation of Indian Christian Associations in North America (FIACONA), a religious freedom advocacy organisation, has issued a statement calling for the release of Pastor Santhosh Abraham and his wife Jigi from detention on false claims of forced conversions by a Bajrang Dal member in Ghaziabad.

The court the couple's bail plea and sent them back to unlawful detention when the complainants did not present themselves for the scheduled hearing. “This points to the sad reality that religious freedom and constitutional rights are increasingly under serious threat in India,” said George Koshy, president of  FIACONA.

The couple were arrested in February, based on complaints filed allegedly by members of the Hindutva group Bajrang Dal, for allegedly converting residents to Christianity through persuasion and allurement. They have been booked under provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Ordinance, 2020.

‌‌“It should also be noted that there was hardly anybody ever convicted of forced conversions in India, and this harassment and intimidation of Indian Christians constitutes a violation of their human rights, and authorities in India are engaged in a grave injustice being silent accomplices to this ongoing debacle” added Koshy.

‌‌FIACONA demands that the government release the couple from custody and grant them a fair trail. The organization also raises its concern about the fact that any Sangh Parivar (Hindu nationalist organization) member may enter a police station and make a claim of forced conversion, which could result in the indefinite detention of innocent people.