05/08/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Jaipur clergyman complains about attack, police does nothing

by Nirmala Carvalho
Christians are increasingly the victims of violence in India. Despite complaints and filing charges, police does not always intervene. In the latest case last Sunday, a clergyman and his family were threatened by a group of fundamentalists.

Jaipur City (AsiaNews) – Increasingly, Christians are victims of violence. In spite of it, police forces are not always acting to protect them. The latest incident took place on Sunday when Rev Than Singh John, a pastor with the Believers Church of India, his wife Ruth and their two children, were threatened by a group of fundamentalists.

After making a formal complaint to the police in Kanota (Jaipur District), the clergyman and his family, originally from Rajasthan’s Dholpur District, went home to their rented flat in Paldi Meena, on the outskirts of Jaipur. Here, two masked youth on a motorcycle told them to leave.

Four people had already threatened Reverend John in February of last year in front of his house. Despite complaining at the local police station in Kanota, his statement was not registered.

“It is absolutely clear that Christians in Rajasthan cannot freely carry out their worship. The timing of the attacks is sinister. Fundamentalists are choosing Sundays, the day of worship for Christians, to attack, and this is a cause of concern,” Kavita Srivastava, general secretary of the Rajasthan People's Union for Civil Liberties, told AsiaNews. “Attacks on Christians in Jaipur clearly show how brazen fundamentalists have become. It indicates a possible collusion with the administration in Rajasthan,” he added.

A group of human rights activists and lawyers and representatives of the All India Christian Council went to Jaipur to investigate another incident, also involving a clergyman, Rev Walter Massey who was attacked on April 29.

The group visited the city on May 3 where it met with the director general of the state police, A S Gill, who admitted that the number of reported attacks against Christians was rising.

“Rajasthan's tribal districts in the Jaipur, Udaipur and Ajmer divisions have seen scores of incidents of violence against Christians. Most of the incidents have gone unreported even though the police is aware of the rising trend of hatred towards Christians,” the group said.

“The anti-Christian violence targets a small minority.  And there could be more violence once the 2006 Rajasthan Freedom of Religion bill becomes law,” said John Dayal, chairman of the All India Catholic Union.

For his part, Abraham Mathai, deputy chairman of the Maharashtra Minority Commission, condemned his Rajasthan counterpart for failing to protect the minority Christian population.

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