06/09/2012, 00.00
INDIA

Armed Hindu extremists attack Christian funeral in Chhattisgarh

by Nirmala Carvalho
The incident took place on 6 June in Bacheli, Bastar District. Nine members of a Protestant Church were injured. Police did not intervene. Global Council of Indian Christian President Sajan George expresses his outrage.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Anti-Christian violence continues in Chhattisgarh, a state ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On Wednesday, armed Hindu extremists attacked a group of Christians from the Bastar Christ Movement Church in Bacheli (Bastar District) where they were celebrating the funeral of the daughter of Rev Shankarlal Karma, head of the congregation.

The incident occurred at 8.30 am. According to some eyewitnesses, the group of radical Hindus approached the funeral procession armed with knives and sticks and began insulting the hundred or so Christians present at the event.

When the mourners were close to the cemetery, the extremists attacked them, forcing people to flee. In order to prevent the rite, the fanatics filled in the grave.

Incapable of maintaining security, police convinced the family of the dead teenager to bury her in the Christian cemetery of the town of Bacheli.

After the service, Rev Shankarlal Karma filed a complaint with the local police station. So far, agents have identified ten people involved in the attack.

Since 3 August 2006, Chhattisgarh has had an anti-conversion law requiring would-be converts to communicate their intention to a district magistrate. Anyone violating this rule could be fined 50-100,000 rupees and be sentenced up to three years in prison.

The same thing applies to anyone involved in "forced conversions".

Global Council of Indian Christians president Sajan George said the law is a bane on the state's Christian communities.

"Hindu extremists use it to harass religious minorities," he said. The BJP administration has done nothing to stop acts of violence and allows fanatics to attack Christians and destroy their churches and properties.

 

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