A young Christian doctor in Madhya Pradesh has been suspended from a government program to help combat the deadly second wave of COVID-19 and is facing criminal charges for telling families to pray to Jesus if they get infected with the virus.
Dr. Sandhya Tiwari was suspended from the Madhya Pradesh state’s “Kill Corona” program and is facing criminal charges, possibly under the state’s anti-conversion law, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern reported.
As part of the program, the doctor visited homes in the Bajna area of Ratlam District on May 22 and distributed Christian leaflets along with a recommended diet chart. She also encouraged families to pray to Jesus for healing.
Activists from India’s chief Hindu nationalist umbrella organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, objected to it, according to OpIndia. One of the men there made a short video of himself interrogating the doctor. The video was then shared on social media, in which Dr. Tiwari can be seen defending her actions, saying, “What is wrong in telling them that God heals? I did not tell anybody to convert or forced anybody to pray to Jesus, I am being a Christian, I told them that Jesus heals.”
According to local news reports, the doctor was then taken to a police station and was interrogated further. “This is the state of religious freedom in our state, we can be booked for a conversion that we might have with people of other faith. In most cases, the facts are twisted to suit to an agenda and sadly the state machinery are handy to victimize the minorities,” ICC quoted a local Christian as saying.
"If the situation is such for a medical professional, the condition for the common Christian could be much worse,” the Christian added. Madhya Pradesh state has had an anti-conversion law for more than 50 years, which presumes that Christian workers “force” or give financial benefits to Hindus to convert them to Christianity. A revised and stricter version of the legislation went into effect in January.