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India Police Who Rescued Christian Family from Attacked Later Jailed Them After Realizing They Are Christians

Posted by on May 5, 2021 — Drop A Comment

Police in India who
initially took a pastor and his family
into custody to protect them from an
attack by a 300-member Hindu
extremist mob were pressured into
jailing them under a baseless charge of
forcible conversion, sources said.
Pastor Manu Damor, 35, remains in
Depalpur jail a month after the Easter
Sunday (April 4) attack on the worship
service of five families at a Christian’s
home in Rangwasa village, Indore
District in the central Indian state of
Madhya Pradesh. Though Betma police
had assured him and his wife that they
would be allowed to go home morning
after their first night of detention, they
were instead charged with serious
crimes and sent to two separate jails.
The pastor sent his two oldest children,
ages 4 and 5, home with another
Christian family detained and released
that night, while his 18-month-old girl
remained with him and his wife, Asha
Damor, until the next morning.
After hearing the charges against them
in a court hearing on April 5, the couple
handed their still-nursing 18-month-old
to the same Christian family who took
the other children after police warned
them of widespread COVID-19 in the
jail. The children were sent to another
town to live with their grandparents the
same day, while their mother remained
in Indore District jail until her release
on bail on April 12.
“I had never left my children alone, and
my children had never lived without
me,” Asha Damor told Morning Star
News. “It was traumatizing for them to
stay without me for a week. After my
release I was told that my 18-month-
old would often cry and trouble the
relatives a lot. Even the older children
missed me so much that they stopped
taking food.”
Pastor Damor had called police for
protection when members of the mob
began beating down the door and
tearing through the roof after he had
led worship in the house, his wife said.

“The police initially detained us to
safeguard us from being killed by the
mob,” Damor said. “However, the
tables turned after large crowds of
Hindu extremists and influential
political people began to pour into the
police station the late evening of our
The couple was shocked the next
morning to hear that their case, initially
described as a “small matter,” had
become big and they would have to go
to jail after appearing before a judge.
“We were not informed that someone
has done a formal complaint against
us the same night, and that an FIR
[First Information Report] had been
registered against us,” Damor said. “We
were not interrogated by the police, nor
our statements were recorded. We
were shocked when the FIR was read
before the magistrate, which stated
that we had allured a woman named
Leela Bai and committed to pay her
3,000 rupees [US$40] every month if
she agreed to convert to Christianity.”
Calling the allegation baseless, she
said she had never visited or spoken to
“We do not know how they persuaded
the police and convinced them to book
us under such a stringent law,” Damor
They were charged under the Madhya
Pradesh Freedom of Religion
Ordinance, 2020, which prohibits
“unlawful conversion from one religion
to other religions,” and under the Indian
Penal Code’s Section 294 for “obscene
act/song in public place.”
After leading the Easter morning
service at a village four miles from
Rangwasa, Pastor Damor and his
family, residents of Betma village,
reached Rangwasa for a 4 p.m. service
at the home along with four other
families, including the host family.
As they finished worship, four or five
villagers walked inside the house and
began questioning them, Damor said.
When the Christians objected to the
questioning, the intruders left and
returned with mob of more than 300
villagers who surrounded the house
and demanded they hand over the
The women of three families were
standing in front of the door trying to
block the assailants, Damor said.
“The mob manhandled the women
while they were trying to break the
door to get to where we were hiding,”
she said.
Hurling obscenities, the Hindu
extremists reviled the pastor and other
Christians, with some peeping through
a window into the room where the
pastor and another visiting family were
hiding and threatening them.
“We will kill you and send your dead
bodies from here,” one of the Hindu
extremists said.
One group of assailants broke the door
of another room and made their way to
where the Christians were taking
refuge, while another climbed onto the
roof and began to dismantle the metal
sheet above their room, Damor said.
“We were very scared and called the
police,” she said. “We requested them
to come fast, as the agitated mob was
making their way from every side. It
was a very scary sight. We prayed for
God to send help.”
Some of the assailants began to break
the family’s motorbike.
“They broke our motorbike, broke its
lock and were draining the petrol,”
Damor said. “They were about to burn
our motorbike when the police arrived
and stopped them. The people on the
roof had also managed to open a
portion of the roof and were about to
jump inside our room, when the police
arrived and took us to the Betma police
station. We were so grateful to the
Lord and thanked Him for sending the
police in time and saving us.”
Damor was kept in a cell with 23 other
women prisoners. Knowing a pandemic
lockdown would begin in the state the
evening of April 12, she prayed for bail
and praised God that she was released
that day and re-united with her
The Session Court has refused bail for
Pastor Damor, and his counsel has
petitioned the High Court, a local
pastor said.
An officer at the Betma police station
who did not disclose his name told
Morning Star News that the
investigating officer in the case, Sub-
Inspector Padam Singh Kayat, had
been transferred and that a new officer
had not yet been assigned.
“The case diary for this case has been
sent to the High Court, but as the High
Court is closed due to the lockdown
[extended weekly to April 30], the diary
has not been sent back,” the officer
said. “Once the diary is received, a new
investigating officer will be assigned to
this case.”
Damor’s attorney said he would decline
to comment in order to avoid creating
any more trouble for Pastor Damor.
Bachubhai Bhabor, senior pastor of the
church where Pastor Damor helps
shepherd the congregation, said he
was deeply concerned about the
harassment and case delays.
“What worries me is that Pastor Manu
is still inside the jail,” he told Morning
Star News. “He is suffering for no fault
of his. He has been falsely implicated,
and the police have joined hands with
the accusers. Instead of taking action
against the attackers, the police have
booked an innocent couple, and this is
causing them great harassment.”
Residents of Rangwasa are terrorizing
the three Christian families in the
village, sources said.
“The villagers are threatening them,”
Damor said. “The villagers have told
them that if I or my husband are seen
even passing by that village, they will
burn us alive and also burn the
The three families refuse to approach
police for protection.
“They say that the police are siding
with the Hindu extremists, and that
even when our pastor called the police
for protection, they came and arrested
Pastor Damor and his wife instead of
the attackers,” said one area Christian,
whose name is withheld for security
reasons. “We do not trust the police.”
On March 27 the Madhya Pradesh
Freedom of Religion Act of 2021
replaced the Madhya Pradesh Freedom
of Religion Ordinance of 2020, but
police inexplicably filed the charges
under the 2020 ordinance, which
penalized religious conversions by
“misrepresentation, force, undue
influence, coercion, inducement (or
allurement) or by any fraudulent means
or by marriage.”
The 2021 act calls for 10 years in
prison and hefty fines in some cases.
State Home Minister Narottam Mishra
presented the 2021 bill in the House on
March 1, it passed in the Assembly on
March 8 and came into effect on
March 27.
The hostile tone of the National
Democratic Alliance government, led by
the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata
Party, against non-Hindus, has
emboldened Hindu extremists in
several parts of the country to attack
Christians since Prime Minister
Narendra Modi took power in May
2014, religious rights advocates say.
India ranked 10 on Christian support
organization Open Doors’ 2021 World
Watch List of the countries where it is
most difficult to be a Christian, as it
was in 2020. The country was 31st in
2013, but its position worsened after
Modi came to power.

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