02/08/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Hindu extremists beat up Christian missionary women

by Nirmala Carvalho
The four women belong to Gospel for Asia. Their attackers, including a local policeman, are activists from the Sangh Parivar.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Four Christian missionary women were badly beaten by Hindu extremists in the northern Indian state of Haryana. Two clergymen were also hurt in the February 4 attack by Sangh Parivar activists. All the victims belonged to Gospel for Asia, which reported the incident.

Open attacks like this one against women are quite rare. K.P. Yohannan, founder and president of Gospel for Asia, told Assist News Service, that “Hindu religious fundamentalists have been making every possible attempt to stop all Christian work in this state for some time, these fundamentalists routinely target Christians, and now they are even attacking women.”

The four missionary women—Vanmala, Lata, Udaya and Ramita—were working in the area for about a year. Four days ago Hindu fundamentalists met them and told them to vacate immediately the house in which they were staying and call their supervising pastors, who came right away to the home.

The women and the pastors were still inside the building when hundreds of people surrounded the house.

A group of the fundamentalists broke into the house and attacked the women and the two pastors who had come to their assistance.

One of the attackers, a policeman, used his police stick against the women; others slapped and kicked them.

When the attackers left, the women sought refuge at a nearby Gospel for Asia-affiliated church.

Gospel for Asia officials have not filed any formal complaint for the time being, but they did inform the local Superintendent of Police.

The Sangh Parīvār is a network of Hindu organisations that share the same Hindutva or Hindu nationalist ideology whose raison d’être is the protection of India’s Hindu identity.

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