In two separate incidents in Uttar Pradesh, Christmas prayers were disrupted by alleged Hindutva fanatics who claimed religious conversion was taking place.
The first incident occurred in Kanpuriyan village, Rae Bareilly, on Monday. Bajrang Dal members reportedly halted a Christian prayer meet, alleging religious conversions. Three Christians were arrested following objections raised by the group, who claimed the prayers were held in private homes.
“Bajrang Dal members stopped a Christian prayer meet over allegations of religious conversions. Police have arrested 3 members of the Christian community,” stated Hindutva Watch, sharing a video report on the incident.
Another incident occurred on December 24 in Deoria, where a group of Bajrang Dal and BJP members disrupted Christmas prayers at a local church. The group accused the Christians of engaging in religious conversion. The priest conducting the prayers fled as the situation escalated, with the group interrogating attendees.
A local BJP leader, Anand Shahi, wrote to the state and national BJP leadership, alleging a “religious conspiracy” and claiming that poor Hindus were being converted. He urged strict action in response.
Social media users expressed outrage over the prayer disruptions. One user, Antony Suneel, said, “None of the anti-conversion extremists can prove even a single case of forced conversions in any part of India.”
These incidents unfolded as Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a Christmas Day program at his residence. While lauding the teachings of Jesus Christ, he emphasized his government’s commitment to inclusive development.
“Christmas is the day when we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is also an occasion to remember his life, message, and values. Jesus lived the values of compassion and service. He worked towards creating a society where there is justice for all and for an inclusive society. These values serve as a guiding light in our journey of national development,” PM Modi said.
“As a government, we are ensuring that the benefits of development reach everyone, and no one should be left untouched. Many members of the Christian community, especially the poor and marginalized, are benefiting from the ongoing development in the country. I remember when we established a separate ministry for fisheries, many members of the Christian community, particularly the brothers and sisters from the fishing community, publicly appreciated our step. They also honoured me,” he said.