06/30/2011, 00.00
INDIA

Karnataka: two pastors assaulted and arrested on false accusations of forced conversions

Nirmala Carvalho
They were ambushed by 10 Hindu radicals while returning from the house of a religious believer. Insults, threats and beatings, then the complaint and arrest. The Global Council of Indian Christians: "Complicity between extremists and the government."
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - "Once again, false accusations of forced conversions, with the complicity of Hindu radicals and administration: enough!". This is the condemnation of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after the lastest episode against Christians. On June 28 police arrested two Pentecostal pastors of independent churches in the district of Hubli (Karnataka), on charges of forced conversions laid by a group of Hindu radicals. The complaints involve three sections of the Criminal Code: 295A, hurting religious sentiments, 447, violation of private property, 341, unlawful coercion.

About 10 people, members of the Bajrang Dal (youth wing of the VHP - Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Hindu extremist organization), ambushed Pastor M. Sandeep, 28, and brother Isaac, 32, while returning from a pastoral service. They angrily questioned them and accused of trying to convert Hindus to Christianity. After being searched for Christian texts and objects, the two were beaten and insulted. Then, the attackers called the police, who took the men away. According to witnesses, the two religous were be left without food until evening, and then the arrest and the charges were validated.

"This is not an isolated case, it is the routine," says Sajan K George, president of the GCIC. "The Karnataka police received complaints and proceed without any further investigation to their arrest. So many Christians throughout Karnataka have already faced false accusations of forced or fraudulent conversions. Other Christians instead receive threats, are beaten or disturbed during prayer. " The GCIC is in contact with the victims and their lawyers, to ensure them maximum support.

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