FATEHPUR, India — A pastor in India was granted bail in January, but his jail time has been extended because Hindu extremists have filed additional baseless charges against him.
Morning Star News reports that pastor Vijay Masih was arrested April 14, 2022, released on bail three days later and arrested again Oct. 30, 2022. He was granted bail on Jan. 16, but his jail term has been lengthened after more complaints were filed Jan. 23.
Last April, complaints were filed against the pastor and about 49 other Christians, falsely accusing them under the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act. Other accusations include unfounded charges of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy.
Masih has led an Evangelical Church of India congregation for 13 years.
The Hindu extremist entity Vishva Hindu Parishad has accused church members of forcibly converting 90 Hindus to Christianity, Morning Star reported, quoting Masih’s wife, Preeti Masih.
India is No. 11 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian. Since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, Hindu extremists have been emboldened in targeting Christians and other non-Hindus, say rights advocates.