Three volunteers of Gospel Echoing Missionary Society (GEMS) were arrested from village Motwa near Satna for allegedly converting the local people to Christianity on a complaint from right-wing activists who reportedly accompanied the police when the arrests were made late on Saturday.
Stephen Rajkumar, Harilal and Anil were released on bail on Sunday by a local magistrate.
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Majhagawan Police Station in-charge Khem Singh told The Indian Express that statements of few women have been recorded who were cured of various ailments during medical camps organized by the Society. The women said they had converted to Christianity recently.
Singh said the police had received a complaint from one Rajaram Sahu that the missionaries were converting people in a school in the guise of offering prayers. The 25-year-old complainant alleged that potential converts were made to take a bath and asked to read the Bible.
The three were booked under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act and sections 295, 506 and 34 of the IPC
GEMS spokesman Mariyosh, however, denied the allegations of conversion saying the society has been active in the region since 1972 and offering humanitarian services.
A fortnight ago a missionary couple was detained in Umaria on similar charges but let off because there was no evidence against them, the spokesman said and claimed that the police had no evidence against the trio either but arrested them under pressure from the VHP whose activists accompanied the police to the school.
Mariyosh alleged the police and VHP activists roughed up the trio, a charge Singh denied. The spokesman claimed that a film with a social message on peace was being shown in school when the police reached there.
“The action was premeditated. No one was being converted to Christianity,” the spokesman said and added that the society was going to complain to the commission for minorities against the alleged persecution.