Pastor ‘falsely framed’ resulting in shut down of his seven churches

By Christian Today India |
Pastor Dashrath Gupta
Pastor Dashrath Gupta

Last week, the Nautanwa police released a pastor in Maharajganj district, Uttar Pradesh, on bail after arresting him last month.

While speaking to Christian Today, his wife and son alleged, "He is falsely framed."

Pastor Dashrath Gupta, from Barwa Khurd village under the Nautanwa administrative division, was taken into custody by the Nautanwa police based on a complaint filed by a woman church member who had been attending regular church services for the past year.

Gupta, 42, was apprehended on November 25 on charges of allegedly enticing the church member to convert, under Sections 3 and 5 of the Uttar Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act.

Section 3 of the Act prohibits the conversion of any person from one religion to another through misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or fraudulent means.

Section 5 stipulates that contravening Section 3 can result in imprisonment for a term not less than one year but may extend to five years, along with a fine not less than 5,000 rupees.

Pastor Gupta, granted bail on December 5, was released from jail on December 12.

Denying all allegations of fraudulent conversion, Gupta asserted in an interview with Christian Today that the complainant was coerced by her husband to sign the complaint letter. He claimed that she was offered money to convert to Christianity.

Gupta explained, "Her husband threatened to abandon her if she did not consent to sign the documents stating that I allured her to join the church. Her mobile was confiscated, and she could not call us and inform us about the police complaint."

The woman had joined the church fellowship a year ago seeking prayers for her husband. Gupta remarked, "She was a regular church attendee and was very firm in her faith."

Her husband discovered her visits to the church and praying for him, prompting him to frame Pastor Gupta to teach them a lesson, as per Gupta's 17-year-old son, informed by friends in the village that her husband had performed a purification ceremony to bring her back into the Hindu fold.

Gupta, who conducted seven church services within a 20-kilometre radius, faced opposition in all the other villages also.

The Barwa Khurd villagers threatened Gupta of dire consequences if he continued church service in the village, leading to the closure of his church and six others in nearby villages.

Expressing concern about meeting the family's needs, Gupta's wife highlighted that they have six children between 10 and 22 years of age.

Once from a Hindu faith, Gupta not only himself believed in Christ, but also started this church two years ago and expanded to six more churches.

Despite being detained twice before, Gupta remains positive and steadfast in his faith, stating, "Now that I know the Truth (Jesus), I will not deny the truth; I am ready to die for Christ because I have the assurance that I will meet my Saviour."

Originally published by Christian Today India