03/17/2015, 00.00
INDIA
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Christian leader: Hindu radicals are a danger to the women of India

by Nirmala Carvalho
The President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) slams the mind-set of people like Surendra Jain, joint secretary of the fundamentalist group Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Speaking of the gang rape of a 72-year-old nun in, he accused Christians of "notoriously abusing nuns". Speaking about acts of vandalism against a church, he said, "When they [Christians] let us do that [build a temple in the Vatican], we will ask them to choose any place in India to build a church".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Vile, vulgar and deliberately malicious comments show how dangerous the mind-set of Hindu radicals is. Our women are a risk with such elements in Indian society," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), as he spoke to AsiaNews about recent statements made by Surendra Jain, joint secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu fundamentalist group.

In comments about the attack and gang rape of a 72-year-old superior in Ranagath, West Bengal, Jain said, "It is part of Christian culture to exploit sexually the sisters. We Hindus do not do such things."

Last Friday, some men broke into the convent of the Religious of Jesus and Mary in Ranagath (West Bengal), for the purpose of robbery. They also raped the superior, who had tried to stop them, and then destroyed sacred objects in the chapel. Police arrested six people in connection with the case.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the comments made by the VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain," George said. "How low he can get shows how dangerous he is. Rape is wrong, a terrible and despicable act."

In 2008, when Hindu radicals went on a frenzy during the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal (Orissa), they attacked people, and destroyed their property and places of worship. Several women were raped, including Sister Meena Barwa, who spoke publicly about the attack to avoid a police cover-up.

Jain is "a radical element that sows division in Indian society", said the GCIC president. This is further demonstrated by some of his statements concerning acts of vandalism against a Pentecostal church in Haryana.

On 6 March, in the village of Kaimri (Hisar district), a group of young people got inside a local church where they placed an idol representing Hanuman, Hinduism's monkey god. Police arrested 14 people in connection with the act of "vandalism".

Surendra Jain justified what happened in Haryana as a "spontaneous reaction of the local population. There are no Christians in the village or in the surrounding area. Why build a church? Would Christians allow us to build a temple to Hanuman in the Vatican? When they let us do that, then we will ask them to choose any place in India to build a church, and we will fund it."

According to its constitution, India is a secular country in which there is full freedom of religion, expression and conscience.

On his tweeter account, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist leader, criticised the violence against the nun and the attack on the Haryana church.

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