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  • » 02/02/2012, 00.00

    INDIA

    Anti-Christian violence is “too much” after a pastor is attacked and a cemetery is desecrated

    Nirmala Carvalho

    In Chhattisgarh, Hindu extremists seriously injure a Pentecostal clergyman for screening a Jesus movie. In Gujarat, someone destroys tombs in a Christian cemetery. For Global Council of Indian Christian President Sajan George, “there is no respect” for the Christian community.
    Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “Repeated attacks against India’s Christian community are too much. There is no respect,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after more anti-Christian attacks occurred in late January in two different Indian states. In Chhattisgarh, a group of ultranationalist Hindu extremists attacked and seriously wounded a Pentecostal clergyman after accusing him of forced conversions. In Gujarat, someone desecrated a monumental Christian cemetery.

    On Tuesday, nine activists from the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Hindu ultranationalist Sangh Parivar, stormed the private home of Rev Rajendra Masih. The latter had screened a Hindi movie about Jesus, Dava Sagar, outside of the house.

    After breaking his equipment, they beat and insult him and those present. The violence lasted for more than an hour. Rev Masih reported injuries to the face, particularly to his left eye.

    At the end of their action, the attackers filed a complaint against the clergyman for proselytising and forced conversions.

    On 26 January, unidentified people destroyed a number of tombs in the monumental Christian cemetery in Sabarmati, using a bulldozer.

    According to local sources, Chanchalben Parmar, a local councillor with ultranationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, had incited them.

    “When we reached the cemetery, cars were parked in the area where tombs used to be,” said Martin Hector Harris of the Methodist Church in Dharamnagar. “We also saw the desecrators pile mud from the tombstones on a nearby sidewalk. Police has not arrested anyone yet or even started an investigation.”

    “The cemetery was opened in 1947, when the railways donated the land,” Harris explained. “Since then, seven Christian Churches have used it to bury their dead in the place.”

    “Chanchalben Parmar, her husband and local officials are directly responsible for what has happened. It was their moral duty to protect all believers and their places of worship,” he added.
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