Three Christians in India Released on Bail After Spending Christmas in Jail for ‘Illegally Practicing Medicine’

Christians arrested in central India after Hindu nationalist tribal villagers disrupted their worship service, spent Christmas in jail before they were released on bail after 11 days – accused of illegally practicing medicine.

Pastor Mukam Kiraad, 35, along with two members of his church, 40-year-old Lalsingh Tomar and 38-year-old Nanliya Rawat, were shocked to learn that they were charged under a Madhya Pradesh state law prohibiting unregistered medical practice, punishable by up to three years in prison.

Their attorney, Rahul Parihar, said he also was stunned.

“Their next hearing is Jan. 8,” Parihar told Morning Star News. “They will have to come for each hearing, which might fall once every 15 days, and the case may prolong for many years.”

The three Christians were initially arrested after more than a dozen tribal villagers radicalized by Hindu nationalists in Vadi village, near Alirajpur, intruded into their house-church worship service on Dec. 10 wearing blankets that concealed guns and locally-made sharp weapons, Pastor Kiraad said.

“Some of them began to film the worship service while others went out and locked us in from outside so that we would not escape,” Kiraad said. “They disrupted the service and began to search the place while using vulgar language.”

The intruders seized their cell phones, preventing them from calling the police. They also took four Bibles, literature and a bottle of oil that belonged to the Christian resident of the home, Pastor Kiraad said.

“About 10 assailants were hiding outside at various locations, to attack us in case any of us managed to escape,” he said.

The intruders grabbed the landlord of the rented house, who regularly attends the services, by his hair, the pastor said. They threatened the landlord for renting it to a Christian and allowing worship there, Pastor Kiraad said.

They also seized the pastor’s water bottle, which they may have tainted with some substance before they presented it to police as evidence of some crime, he said.

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SOURCE: Christian Headlines, Morning Star News