08/08/2011, 00.00
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Andhra Pradesh: five Christians arrested on false charges, their attackers go free

The five Christians had written ‘Jesus Saves’ on a rock near a Hindu temple. For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the authorities’ indifference encourages Hindu extremists to attack the Christian minority. The latest is the third incident of its kind since June in Andhra Pradesh.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – It is “increasingly alarming” to see Christians arrested and jailed on false charges, whilst their attackers go free and unpunished, said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after five more Christians were arrested by state police on false forced conversion charges. The latest case is the third of its kind since June in Andhra Pradesh.

On 4 August, some Hindu radicals attacked five members of the Little Flock Pentecostal Church in Ramagundam (Karim Nagar District). During a break from a service in which they were involved, the Christians had scribbled ‘Jesus Saves’ on a rock, not knowing that they were near a Hindu temple.

A group of activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu nationalist paramilitary organisation, saw them. After going over to them, they began insulting the Christians, telling them to erase the graffiti. As the latter began wiping off the words, the Hindu radicals called the police, who came to the scene of the incident where they arrested the Christians, who were later released on bail.

“Not only are Hindu extremists carrying out an anti-Christian plan, but the police was quick to register a complaint against the victims rather than against their aggressors,” Sajan George said.

This situation is “increasingly alarming because the real offenders are encouraged to attack and harass the vulnerable Christian minority, also because of the authorities’ indifference,” the GCIC president said.

On 28 June, Hindu radicals in the village of Bhongir Mandal beat up Rev Johnny Lazarus, 50, after he was accused by Malla Reddy, a Hindu, of witchcraft against him.

On 3 July, Rev GN Paul was brutally assaulted by four Hindu extremists, who told him to stop all prayer services and worship on pain of death.
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