MANIKPUR, India — A Christian educator accompanying students to a Bible institute in India was arrested and charged with human trafficking and fraudulent conversion.
Liju Kuriakose was arrested in Manikpur in India’s Chhattisgarh state as he chaperoned eight Christian students traveling by bus to a Bible institute in Kerala state, reports Morning Star News.
Police have accused Kuriakose of human trafficking and of luring children to convert through the offer of money.
One student told Morning Star that police pressured them to say that they were being trafficked. “We all had vehemently refused and told the police that we have been Christians for a while and are not new converts. … When their attempts failed, police sent us to the Child Welfare Committee’s home.”
A pastor of some of the students said the young people remained in the home as long as five or six days before their parents could get them released.
The pastor told Morning Star that parents had given permission for the students to go to the institute and that the students “were very much looking forward” to taking courses.
Kuriakose was released on bail.
India is No. 11 on Open Doors’ 2023 World Watch List of places most difficult to be a Christian.