Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two Christian preachers, assistants to pastor Isaac Samuel who was attacked on Jan. 2 in the middle of a religious service, have been arrested by police in Davanagere in Karnataka. The preachers Babu and Krishna were arrested while visiting the hospital in Davanagere, where Isaac Samuel is being treated, and taken to the police station in Gandhi Nagar for questioning. Soon after they were formally accused of "Promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion." Police officers have told AsiaNews that Basraj, an activist of the Bajrang Dal, a Hindu radical movement, lodged a complaint against the pastor Isaac Samuel under Article 153 of the Indian Penal Code for "promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion." (see: Attempted murder of an Indian Christian leader in Karnataka).
The arrest has been harshly criticized by Sajan K. George, chairman of the Global Council of Indian Christians. Sajan told AsiaNews: "The two preachers were present for the New Year religious service led by Pastor Isaac Samuel. Both were taking care of the Pastor in the hospital when police on the pretext of making inquiries about the aggression, brought them to the police station and arrested them. " The president has sharply criticized the collusion between police and Hindu radicals. "The extremists first disrupted a religious service, they beat the pastor and the faithful, threatened them with the worst consequences, and finally managed to have them arrested. This is a black mark on our secular democracy. "
To support their charges Hindu have circulated a distorted version of what happened. They argue that the pastor Samuel was engaged in conversion work, and that he hurt himself while he was fleeing from his Hindu attackers. The Global Council of Indian Christians formally denies this version, based not only on the testimonies of those present, but also the medical report. Davanagere Hospital, where Isaac Samuel was admitted into intensive care emergency, determined that the injuries were caused by an axe.