Hindu organization accuse Americans of forced conversions

(Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)Christians in India protest attacks on churches.

A Hindu youth group based in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh in India accused an American pastor and its church members of forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity.

Members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini (HYV) group founded by Yogi Adityanath filed a request to investigate pastor Yohannan Adam, who, they claimed, was forcefully converting Hindus into the Christian faith.

HYV leader Krishna Nandan said, according to The Economic Times, "The presence of US nationals indicates that innocent and illiterate Hindus were being converted by missionaries who lured them with money to change their religion."

Police officers led by Anand Kumar Gupta went to visit St. Andrew's Church in Dadhauli to investigate the serious allegations made by the group, said The New York Times.

According to Gupta, they found around 150 people along with nine foreigners holding a prayer service, which had to be stopped. Upon questioning, the pastor denied the accusations and told authorities that the people in attendance were in the church voluntarily.

Policemen checked the foreigners' passports and found all to have valid tourist visas. They also saw no sign of forceful conversions as alleged by HYV. After inspection, they all allowed the foreigners to continue the prayer service.

The police filed no charges against the pastor and his members as they found no evidence to support the allegations of forced conversions. Members of HYV who were present during the investigation were asked to disperse after police assured them of a further probe into the matter.

However, The Hindu reported that the authorities issued a warning to the prayer meeting organizers for conducting an event without prior notice from the authorities. According to Gupta, events to be attended by foreign nationals need to seek the approval of authorities for security concerns.

Meanwhile, HYV President Sunil Singh maintained that his group continues to receive reports of forced conversions in "rural areas and secret locations" in exchange for money and that authorities have already been alerted of such events.

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