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India: Christians on a Train Reported for Public Disturbance

A group of evangelical Christians on a train in India was reported for “disturbing public peace” by passengers.

The Christians travelling on the Chennai-Tiruchirapalli train on June 12, 2019 were teaching the Gospel and two of them claimed that they had recovered from an illness after converting to Christianity. They recommended to other commuters to follow Jesus. Passengers were annoyed when the Christians said “the word of Jesus Christ” and complained to the Southern Railway station of Chennai, reports Asia News.

The voice of the majority is getting louder, and seeks to silence that of the tiny Christian community. —Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians

Proselytizing is not illegal in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, but railway police can file a nuisance complaint against evangelizing individuals.

A video of the preaching Christians was posted online to attract public attention and demand police to punish the believers. The Railway Protection Force sent officials to conduct inspections on the train, reports Times of India.

“The passenger has clearly complained that the proselytizing act of the duo was a nuisance to passengers. This is akin to unauthorized vendors who sell their wares on trains or beggars and transgenders who are found to harass passengers,” said a senior railway official.

Some passengers noted that proselytizing acts have also taken place on suburban trains in Chennai. One said she was glancing at a fellow commuter reading a religious book on the train. She claimed that, “When she saw me glancing at her book, she immediately pulled out another copy and asked me to read it.”

President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Sajan K. George, blasted “the increase intolerance towards the Christian faith” in India. He recalled similar incidents such as in 2017 when a nun accompanying girls in a summer camp was arrested and charged with kidnapping the children. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, authorities detained a group of children attending a Christian retreat.

George said, “the voice of the majority is getting louder, and seeks to silence that of the tiny Christian community.”

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