04/26/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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Hindu nationalist governments do not protect Christians

by Nirmala Carvalho
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), highlights the problem. More anti-Christian attacks are reported in the states of Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, which are governed by the Hindu nationalist NJP. Anti-conversion laws and lack of justice have created a climate of terror for Christians.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Governments led by Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) "lack the political will to guarantee security and protection for the Christian minority inside and outside its places of worship," said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) as he spoke to AsiaNews about two fresh anti-Christian attacks in Chhattisgarh and Karnataka by Sangh Parivar activists.

Last Friday, residents in Badne village (Kanker District, Chhattisgarh) cordoned off a private home where Rev Dhaniram Nag and 50 members of the Pentecostal Bethesda Church of God had gathered for a prayer service.

Led by the village chief (sarpanch), they took the Christians out of the house one at a time, beating each in a brutal manner. When some fainted from the violent blows, the attackers threw cold water on them to bring them around in order to beat them some more. They especially targeted women and children. One of the worshippers who was already ill, Jaykant Pawar, died during the attack. The village chief and his acolytes then tried to pin the blame for his death on the pastor and the other Christians.

The day before, 19 April, more Hindu nationalists from the Sangh Parivar organised a protest in front of the Hebron Church in Marathalli, Karnataka, demanding that its pastor, Rev Victor Babu, be arrested. They accuse him of forcibly converting 32 children from a local elementary school at a summer camp.

A local resident, Rajashekara Reddy, filed charges against Rev Babu at the Mahadevapura police station under Article 295 A of the Indian Penal Code against "Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs."

"Anti-conversion laws are a tool to persecute the local Christian community In Chhattisgarh," Mr George said. "Hindu nationalist groups use them as for propaganda in their campaign of hatred against minorities, pushing Hindus to resort to violence. In Karnataka, militants are encouraged by the Somasekhar report to continue to terrorise Christians."

On 28 January 2011, a report by the justice commission chaired by former judge BK Somasekhar found that the Bajrang Dal and its coordinator Mahendra Kumar were not responsible for the attacks against churches and other places of worship in Karnataka in 2008.

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