02/03/2014, 00.00
INDIA
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Andhra Pradesh: rising anti-Christian violence by radical Hindus

by Nirmala Carvalho
Sajan George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), sounds the alarm bells. Fundamentalist group Hindu Vahini is of particular concern. In mid-January, one of its members stabbed to death an evangelical clergyman. According to the GCIC leader, anti-Christian violence is likely to become "more brutal" as India's general elections approach.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Attacks against Christian clergymen in Andhra Pradesh are on the rise and a source of concern," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). "These acts of violence are unmotivated. With the excuse of 'stopping conversions,' they target this community," he told AsiaNews

For the Christian leader, both state and the Union governments, as well as the National Commission for Human Rights should monitor Hindu Vahini, a Hindu fundamentalist group, which has been responsible for several attacks in recent months.

On 20 January, police in the Indian state arrested three of its members, thought to be responsible for the murder of an evangelical pastor in Nalgonda, Rev Sanjeevulu.

In recent weeks, extremists also attacked other Protestant leaders. In January, Rev Christopher Talla was assaulted in the village of Munugode, and Rev Gajjala Neeladri Pal suffered the same fate in Ipparthi.

In December 2013, a group of extremists attacked a Baptist church in Narketpally, accusing without any evidence its pastor, Rev Nama Moses, of conducting forced conversions.

"Immediate action is needed," said Sajan George, "especially in view of the general elections. These groups could conduct even more brutal attacks against Christian communities in order to polarise Hindu voters. Such unprovoked attacks threaten India's moral authority and secular nature."

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