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Published On: Sat, Aug 3rd, 2019

Pentecostal community of India accused of bribing people to convert to Christianity

In a continuation of attacks on India’s small Christian community, Vasudev Devannai, a member of the Legislative Assembly of Rajasthan in Northern India, who is fully involved in Hindu-nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), insisted that the Pentecostal community of India, bribes people with money to convert to Christianity. He made these comments on July 25, 2019 at a press conference in Jaipur – the capital of Rajasthan.

While speaking, he referred to an incident that happened the day before in Rajasthan. According to Devannai, three women gave their lives to Christ as a result of a bribe and were encouraged to rid themselves of any Hindu idols which still remained in their homes. Interestingly, he did not address who had paid these women to follow Christ or if the bribery he referred to was truly confirmed. Nonetheless, he proceeded to call for an investigation into the Pentecostal church and its funding.

He said, “We ask that the central government intervene immediately against these people. Where do they get the money from? We would like to know where their funds come from. Should the Hindu religion continue to suffer such attacks, in the name of community harmony? These people are greedy for votes.”

Some Christian leaders responded to the politician’s claims, one being Sajan K George, the President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Sajan insisted that the politician is biased and even intentionally reported false news. He also highlighted that whatever the Christian community does is seen with suspicion in India and said that the Pentecostal church is poor, and would not be offering money for conversion, especially since it truly has very little money on its own. Finally, he proved that conversion activities are not being passionately desired seeing as the government census actually shows a decline in the number of Christians in the country – understandably, as there has been a top-down pushback against all religious minorities in India since the re-election of the BJP this year.

ICC

photo screenshot of video coverage

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