Christian doctor facing criminal charges after telling people to pray to Jesus

Dr Sandhya Tiwari(Photo: Twitter/ACN Times)

A Christian doctor in India is facing criminal charges after telling families to pray to Jesus during the pandemic.

Dr Sandhya Tiwari gave the spiritual advice while visiting homes in Madhya Pradesh as part of the state's 'Kill Corona' programme. 

During her home visits, she gave out Christian leaflets and a diet chart, and told families that they could pray to Jesus for healing if they caught Covid-19, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

She was interrogated by Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which filmed her comments and then posted the footage online. 

In the video, she defends her actions. 

"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," she said. 

Dr Tiwari has now been suspended. 

Madhya Pradesh, in central India, is one of many Indian states with an anti-conversion law, but in March, it introduced tougher penalties, including a prison term of three to 10 years and fines of between 25,000 rupees (£250) and 50,000 rupees (£500).

A local Christian told ICC, "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.

"If the situation is such for a medical professional, the condition for the common Christian could be much worse."

Successive reports have pointed to a worsening religious freedom situation under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Open Doors ranks India at number 10 in its World Watch List of the top 50 countries where it is hardest to be a Christian.

It says that Hindu nationalists are trying to rid the country of Christians and Muslims, and that they are using "extensive violence" to achieve this goal.