03/09/2013, 00.00
INDIA

Karnataka, dozens of Hindu fundamentalists attack a Christian community

by Nirmala Carvalho
Eight people seriously injured. The Pentecostal Christians were holding a night vigil of prayer, when at least 30 Hindu nationalists attacked accusing them of forced conversions. It is the sixth attack in Karnataka since the beginning of 2013.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Dozens of Hindu fundamentalists have violently attacked a Pentecostal community of Karnataka as they prepared for a night vigil of prayer. Eight people, including a pastor, were injured and hospitalized. Thanks to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the police arrived on the spot quickly and arrested 16 attackers.

The incident occurred in the village of Moodubelle, near Udupi. Thirty activists from the Hindu nationalist movement Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal raided the house of Rev. Robert Lobo, pastor of World of Victory Ministries, where the vigil was being held. The fundamentalists accused them of practicing of forced conversions and beat the faithful present. Another pastor, Fr. Ramesh Poojari, suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Manipal Hospital in Udupi. Another seven people, five men - Ramesh, Prem, Suraj, Shantharam and Janardhan - and two women - Sujatha and Shakisala - have been admitted to the Ajarakadu State hospital.

GCIC contacted the police in Shirva who have assured justice to the Christian community. "This - Sajan George, president of the GCIC tells AsiaNews - is the sixth anti-Christian attack in Karnataka since the beginning of 2013 and does not bode well for freedom of worship in India. Hostility and religious intolerance continue to grow and are a cause of serious concern for the vulnerable Christian minority. These believers had gathered for a night vigil, an absolutely legal act. Freedom of religion is a constitutional right, but these extremists have political protection in Karnataka's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, ultra-nationalist Hindu party) and are encouraged to persecute the Christian community, particularly the Pentecostals. "

 

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