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    » 09/03/2014, 00.00

    INDIA

    India, false accusations of forced conversions used to intimidate Christian minority

    Nirmala Carvalho

    This is the strategy adopted by ultra-nationalist Hindu groups in various parts of the country. The latest incident took place in Uttar Pradesh, where 10 Protestant pastors were interrogated and detained by the police. Militants of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) paramilitary group incite villagers against Christian religious.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Accusations of forced conversions against the Christian minority with the sole purpose of creating communal distrust and suspicion. This is the strategy adopted in many parts of India by Hindu ultra-nationalist groups. The latest case occurred in Uttar Pradesh on August 31. The victims are 10 Protestant pastors, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reports to AsiaNews.

    On August 31, police in Surajpur (District Gautam Buddh Nagar) detained and interrogated 10 Christian religious leaders from the village of Kulesra. Police confirm the pastors were taking part in a fasting ritual, which did not involve any religious conversion. However, having received many complaints from the local population, officers were forced to bring them in for questioning.

    Once brought into the police station, a mob surrounded the building, preventing the police from releasing the 10 following their interrogation.

    One of the pastors, Rev. Joseph Wilson, is head of Calvary Ashram Seva Sangh and has been in Uttar Pradesh since 1992 "In the many years - tells AsiaNews - I have never seen this kind of communal tension. We are not even being able to get close to Surajpur police station. Some members of our church, who went there, were beaten up". According to the pastor, activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, a Hindu nationalist paramilitary group) incited the people of Kulesra, spreading false news of forced conversions.

    The police deny  that there were major tensions. However Sajan George, president of the GCIC, confirmed the seriousness of the situation to AsiaNews: "These lumpen elements, surrounded the police station, where the vulnerable pastors were detained.  The bogey of ''conversion'' is being raised, with an aggressiveness against the innocent Christians".

     

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    See also

    20/02/2009 INDIA
    Orissa: violence continues, another Christian killed
    Hrudayananda Nayak, 40, disappeared Wednesday evening. His lifeless body was found in the forest near the village of Rudangia whose residents are predominantly Christian. Eyewitnesses say that a group of Hindu extremists stopped him on his way home. This is the third murder since October after widespread anti-Christian violence in August and September of last year.

    14/11/2014 INDIA
    India's Hindu Radical go on the offensive, calling for a stop to conversions to Christianity and Islam
    On the 50th anniversary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an extremist leader calls for Christians and Muslims to return to Hinduism. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), such statements are "absolutely illegal" and "feed suspicion and mistrust" towards minorities. By contrast, the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

    12/05/2009 INDIA
    Orissa government cuts death toll from anti-Christian pogrom
    The authorities reject the list of dead submitted by the diocese of Bhubaneshwar. The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians says the government is reducing the number relying “false justifications” in an attempt “to cut compensation to the victims.” In Kandhamal tensions remain high as Hindu extremists try to storm a refugee camp at night.

    21/04/2010 INDIA
    New acquittals for people who attacked Christians in Orissa
    Fr Edward Sequeira, a Verbite priest who saw anti-Christian violence firsthand and was almost burnt to death during the 2008 pogrom, tells AsiaNews that a big organisation is working against Christians. He is certain that the Church will return to the areas where its institutions have been laid waste. The archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar says the Church is ready to appeal the acquittals.

    18/06/2014 INDIA
    As anti-Christian violence continues, fear and insecurity increase among minorities
    Hindu fundamentalists carry out attacks in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. "These radical groups claim to be defenders of Hinduism just because they practice the majority religion," Global Council of Indian Christians tells AsiaNews.



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