05/05/2016, 10.05
INDIA

Madhya Pradesh, Hindu extremists stone Protestant church

by Nirmala Carvalho

The incident happened in the early hours of this morning. According to the fundamentalists, two parishioners damaged saffron flags (the symbol color of Hindu nationalism) exposed outside the church for the festival of Rama. The US religious freedom Commission's report confirms the escalation of violence against Christians in India.

 

Jobat (AsiaNews) - A mob of 500 Hindu right-wing activists have attacked a Protestant church damaging the entrance and throwing stones at the faithful. The incident happened in the early hours of this morning in Jabat, in Madhya Pradesh. Hindu extremists reacted to the alleged damage to the saffron-colored flags (the symbol color of nationalists) exposed outside the church on the occasion of Ram Navmi festival ( which marks the birth of Rama).

The president of the local branch of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, the Hindu ultra-nationalist ruling party), has been reported to police on charges of riot, damage to a place of worship corruption and violence against women.

Meena Chauhan, superintendent of Alirajpur district police, said that "the problems started at nine o'clock last night, when some people came to us with a complaint against Nirmal Raymind Nigam and his brother, accused of damaging the saffron flags they had placed near the church on the occasion of the festival ". The police immediately registered the complaint, by sending a patrol to arrest the two.

Meanwhile, says Pastor Emmanuel Ariel, " RSS activists [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Hindu ultra-nationalist paramilitary group ed], the BJP and Bajrang Dal [youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, VHP] led by former district chief, threw stones at members of the community, attacked our women and broke the church lamps. " The most shocking thing, he adds, "is that all this happened before the eyes of the police officers, who stood by as silent spectators." The pastor denied that they the faithful of his church damaged the flags: "They were probably torn because of the wind".

According to Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the episode confirms the deterioration of the situation: "Religious tolerance and freedom of worship in India are deteriorating and violence is increasing."

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