Two people were arrested in Rampur and Ballia on charges of allegedly inciting people to convert to Christianity, police said on Monday.
In Rampur, pastor Paulus Masih was arrested on Sunday for allegedly luring some people belonging to a Scheduled Caste to convert to Christianity in Sohna village under the Patwai police station limits on the occasion of Christmas, they said.
A case was registered against him under sections 3 and 5(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, police officials said.
Additional Superintendent of Police Sansar Singh said SHO, Patwai, Harendra Yadav arrested the priest on a complaint by Rajeev Yadav of the same village.
The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, mainly envisages that no person shall convert, either directly or indirectly from one religion to another by use or practice of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage nor shall any person abet, convince or conspire such conversion.
It provides for imprisonment up to 10 years and a maximum fine of Rs 50,000 for violators.
In Ballia, Maldah police outpost in-charge Shiv Murti Tiwari said a person identified as Ram Niwas of Titauli village under the Sikanderpur police station area was arrested on Sunday on charges of disturbing public peace while trying to get Dalit community members to convert to Christianity.
Mr Tiwari said villagers informed police about the accused on Sunday. There was no disturbance in the area as the police promptly acted on the complaint, he added.
The man was charged under provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2021, the police said.
On Friday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had directed officials to make arrangements for peaceful Christmas celebrations in the state but ensure that there was no forced religious conversion.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) president and former chief minister on Sunday said the ruckus created in the country over religious conversion was inappropriate and worrying.
"When done by force, everything is bad. And changing one's religion with bad intention and forcing someone to change their religion, both are wrong," she had said in a tweet in Hindi.