07/27/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Anti-Christian violence up, Christian convert killed in Assam

On its website the Bishops’ Conference reports rising intolerance and violent incidents against Christians. In Uttarakhand a nun-run school is vandalised as police look on. In Assam a convert is beaten to death.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Attacks and violent anti-Christian incidents are increasing, spreading to hitherto unaffected areas, this according to an alarmed Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). Its website reported the latest incident on record, involving members of the Saffron Brigade. Bearing the brunt of the radicals was St Mary's Convent School, which suffered major damages. Run by the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Grace at Vikas Nagar near Dehra Dun (Uttarakhand), the school was attacked on July 16.

Expecting some kind of incident, the school’s managers had given students a day off, so when the attack did take place no one was hurt or injured.

Behind the attack were allegations that the school admitted students only on religious grounds, not merit. The attackers had in fact protested in the past for this same reason. However, the school’s managers denied the allegation, reiterating that academic qualifications determined who got it and who did not. Only those who did not meet the necessary educational requirements were excluded.

Despite the schools’ explanation, Hindu extremists continued their protest and denigration campaign but had little success.

So on July 16 they escalated, turning to violence, something they might do again because the police, despite being warned by school management of the possibility of an attack, did nothing to prevent it.

And when it did happen, only a handful of officers were sent to stand idly by, looking on like   mute spectators to the whole episode.

In Assam in another gruesome attack Hindu extremists attacked and beat to death 29-year-old Hemanta Das whose crime was converting to Christianity. Mercilessly assaulted on June 28, he died from his injuries on July 1.

In another incident a 47-year-old Protestant clergyman, Samuel Simon, from the Evangelical Fellowship, was arrested after a man, Rahul Jangte, accused him of offering him money to convert to Christianity.

However, the accuser’s wife, Preeti Jangte, said that her husband and in-laws, all Buddhists, beat her several times because they wanted her dowry.  

Reverend Simon had instead tried to mediate and reach some kind of family reconciliation.

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