Karnataka: Hindu nationalists raid Christian after-school for children
by Nirmala Carvalho
Hindutva activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) accuse the Child Development Centre of forced conversions. If it fails to provide a set of documents, the center will close. A few days earlier, a similar anti-Christian attack shocked the Indian state. President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "A shameful police silence."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Child Development Centre Sampigehally (Karnataka), a Christian after-school home to 300 children, is likely to close its doors on false charges of forced conversion and proselytism. The attack is the work of dozen of the Hindu nationalists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), who on September 29 last raided the center, while having no mandate. Compounding the situation, the intervention of the local police, who gave Brother Reuben, the director, 24 hours to submit proof of ownership on pain of criminal charges. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has been providing legal help to the center, but at the moment it is not clear in which direction the story will evolve.

For over 15 years, the Child Development Centre has welcomed children of the village - irrespective of caste or creed - every afternoon, from 16:30 to 18:00 (local time). Free of charge, after-school care provides the children with a small meal and help with homework, before they return home. In this way, the children are followed for the entire day.

"In fact - Sajan George tells AsiaNews - this is the second anti-Christian incident in Karnataka in the last month." On 26 September, a complaint from Hindu nationalist Bajrang Dal, four policemen Hunsur interrupted a prayer service at the Pentecostal Church Parishudda Prarthana Mandir, in the village of Kattemalavadi (district of Mysore). The officers questioned the Rev. Venkatesh, demanding the Church building permits, and a special permit to conduct the meeting.

Meanwhile, about 15 Hindu activists arrived on the spot, insulting and beating the Pastor in front of the faithful. "During the violence - said Sajan George - the most shameful thing possible happened: the police stood quietly by watching." At the end of the attack, the nationalists collected and carried away all the Bibles and Christian materials on the spot. At that point, the officers dragged Rev. Venkatesh and the community to the police station for further questioning.