Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Hindu nationalists of Sangh Parivar have demolished a Pentecostal church in Karnataka. This was reported to AsiaNews by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), which is providing legal assistance to the Christians affected. The incident occurred late in the evening of 20 November. The church was the Blessing Youth Mission in the village of Chippagiri Gowtown (Karwar district), and had existed for 15 years. Rev. Suresh Kithan Siddle denounced the event to the police station, and an officer has promised that the perpetrators will be found and brought to justice.
At around 10:30 p.m. (local time), a Hindu nationalist group locked 30 members of the Pentecostal community in their homes, threatening them with death if they tried to escape. Around 11 p.m., the attackers began to demolish the church. To raze it to the ground, they set it on fire.
According to the pastor's account, the attackers are members of the local faction of the Sangh Parivar, a Hindu nationalist movement that welcomes and unites under its umbrella radical groups such as the Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the Vishwa Hindu Prishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal.
A month ago, some of these Hindu activists accused Rev. Suresh of practicing forced conversions, threatening "serious consequences" if he did not stop.
"The faithful of the church", said Sajan George, president of the GCIC, "are mostly day laborers. The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Yet, with the complicity of the government, the extremists of Sangh Parivar harass, beat and make false allegations of forced conversions against the Christians. And, sometimes, they go so far as to demolish churches."