12/11/2013, 00.00
INDIA
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Karnataka, Christmas sees return of Hindu fundamentalist persecution

Two women were arrested for distributing leaflets about Christianity . A mob of extremists threaten to launch a mass protest , to punish "those who practice conversions”. President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC ), tells AsiaNews: "A shameful attack, as planned nationalist forces step up pressure on Christians at Christmas".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two Christians in the Indian state of Karnataka were arrested for handing out religious pamphlets. The incident occurred yesterday in the village of Nitte (Udupi district) , after a crowd of activists of the Bajrang Dal (Hindu extremist group) denounced women, accusing them of practicing "forced conversions" . According to Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC ) , what happened " is shameful and is part of an established plan of nationalist forces : step up pressure on Christians at Christmas ."

According to GCIC sources, the group of Bajrang Dal activists surrounded the police station Kumbalpady , where the women were in custody . The officers attempted to disperse the crowd , but some local leaders from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP , another Hindu fundamentalist group)  threatened to stage a mass protest if the police did not punish those who "practice conversions and anti- Hindu activities".

"These women were just handing out leaflets -  Sajan George tells AsiaNews - what's wrong with that? Followers of Hindu holy men give out hundreds of similar pamphlets, why are they not arrested? With Christmas just around the corner, safety must be guaranteed to the Christian minority, so that we can celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. "

In the past, there have been several cases of attacks against the Christian minority in Advent (see here and here) . In Orissa , the first major attack against the community happened on Christmas Eve 2007 , following an alleged assault against Hindu swamis Laxamananada . Even more dramatic the Christmas of 2008 , spent in refugee camps because of the anti-Christian pogrom launched by Hindu fundamentalists in August of that year. (NC)

 

 

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