07/04/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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Christians in India, fresh attacks on religious freedom

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) denounces anti-Christian attacks in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, perpetrated by the Hindu ultra-nationalists. In both cases, the common element is the complicity of police and authorities with the aggressors.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Attacks against Christians in India continue, perpetrated by the Hindu ultra-nationalists with the complicity of the police. The last few episodes have occurred in chronological order in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh. Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), denounces the situation is "no longer tolerable to secular India", where "more and more Christians do not enjoy the constitutional freedom to profess and practice their religion in their places of worship. "

The first episdoe  July in Vijayapura (Karnataka) against Rev. Kantharaj Hanumanthappa, pastor of the Pentecostal Church Zion Prarthana Mandira, was leading a prayer service at his home. Suddenly, about 20 activists of the Bajrang Dal (Hindu ultranationalist group) interrupted the gathering, insulting and accusing the faithful present of proselytizing among the Hindus. In order not to escalate the situation, the pastor decided to halt the service. Then, along with some of these he went to the Burmasagar police station to file a complaint, but officers have not yet made any arrests.

A similar situation occurred in the village of Rahika (Sitapur district, Uttar Pradesh), during a three day gathering (26-28 June) of a Pentecostal church in the area. Around midnight on the first day, some police raided the home of Pastor Ramgopal, seized his phone and took him to the police station. The officers threatened him: "Either you go away from here and not ever come back, or we will arrest you." The intervention of local officials of the GCIC were fruitless: the police released him only after the pastor signed a statement, promising not to conduct any more prayer service in the area.

"Incidents like these - said Sajan George - are now commonplace, especially in states led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu ultra-nationalist party, Ed.) Members of the Sangh Parivar attack the vulnerable Christian community, in silence and protection from the authorities. Our appeals to provide security are useless. "

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