The Supreme Court in India has given police across the nation unlimited power to arrest and detain anyone who has been accused of talking to another person about Christianity.
The report comes from the World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty Commission, which issued the alert on its News & Analysis mailing list, and Assist News Service.
The WEA report by researcher Elizabeth Kendall said the ruling “opens the door for police with Hindutya sympathies to act as Hindu Taliban.”
Hindutya is a militant Hinduism that seeks political and religious dominance.
“Nuns, pastors, bishops and evangelists, as well as Christian aid workers, teachers and social workers, are all immediately at risk of arrest and imprisonment because of their Christian witness,” Kendall’s report said.
As WorldNetDaily has reported, India is moving up on the list of nations around the world where Christians are persecuted.
“In fact, every Christian, actively witnessing or not, is at risk from hostile elements that may exploit the opportunity to bring false charges against them, inspired by a variety of motives, in the same manner that the blasphemy law is exploited for personal gain in Pakistan,” Kendall wrote.
The technical ruling from India’s Supreme Court was that police are not required to have warrants to file First Issue Reports and arrest and detain suspects.
According to the Times of India, the ruling relieves police and prosecutors of the requirement of “prior sanction” from the federal or state governments, or a local prosecutor.
The previous practice that protected religious leaders in their speech was found in the Criminal Procedure Code, which says, “no court shall take cognizance” of a complaint about proselytizing unless there was government approval for the arrest.
But the new court ruling from Justices G.P. Mathur and Dalveer Bhandari said the only requirement for an arrest on those charges is a complaint, relieving police of that “authorization” requirement that was set for the courts.
The decision, described by the IndLaw.com website,
came in a case involving Pastor Paulrai Raju of Kanartaka state. He was beaten by Hindus last year and arrested on charges of trying to convert Hindus to Christianity. His wife petitioned on the basis there was no warrant, and a lower court quashed the case.
But the state government appealed and the case eventually ended up before the Supreme Court.
Kendall’s report said the Times of India noted the court explained that although a prior sanction would be required for a court to hear the case, that is not needed before someone could be accused by police, then arrested and detained, for proselytizing.
“Mere production of the arrested accused before the magistrate and the latter remanding him to custodial detention does not amount to taking cognizance of the offence, for which alone prior sanction is required,” the court’s opinion said.