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    » 02/21/2013, 00.00


    Madhya Pradesh: Hindu fundamentalists attack Christians even in the privacy of their homes

    Nirmala Carvalho

    In two separate incidents, Pentecostal clergymen are accused of forced conversions. For the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), India's constitution guarantees freedom of worship and praying at home does not violate the penal code.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two more anti-Christian incidents in Madhya Pradesh illustrate the latest trend among Hindu fundamentalists. In addition to filing false charges over forced conversions, they are now attacking Christians in the privacy of their homes even though "praying in one's home is not a crime," Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) Sajan George said.

    Pentecostal Christians were attacked in two separate incidents on 16 and 18 February. Last Monday, members of the Hindu ultranationalist Bajrang Dal stormed the home of a man, Hiralal, in the village of Roshni, where they beat up Rev Iliyas Buck who was leading Bible studies. After the attackers called police, the clergyman was taken into custody and charges of forced conversion were laid against him. He was eventually released a few hours later.

    Last Saturday, Hindu nationalist from the Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) broke up a prayer meeting in the village of Gulai. After beating up the clergyman conducting the service, Rev Isaac, they took him away later in the evening to Khalwa where they resumed their beating. Later, they handed him over to police who kept him in jail overnight.

    Although the Indian constitution recognises freedom of worship, incidents of this kind have become more frequent across the country.

    What happened in Madhya Pradesh "reflects a lack of political will to stop the perpetrators of the attacks," said Sajan George.

    "We should investigate the activities of armed militant groups like the Bajrang Dal, the RSS and the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) under the 1967 Unlawful Activities (prevention) Act," a law that is aimed at suppressing groups involved in illegal activities that threaten India's integrity and sovereignty.

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    See also

    26/07/2005 INDIA
    Hindu extremists slander the Church but send their children to Church-run schools
    False charges of "forced conversions" are levelled at a Catholic priest. For the local bishop, this is a plot by Hindu extremists, backed by the state government that provides the legal instruments. Behind it, there is an attempt by extremists to get free access to high-status Catholic schools.

    29/03/2011 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: Hindu extremists destroy statues for Via Crucis
    A lorry carrying votive statues is attacked. For Jhabua bishop, it is an act of intimidation against the Christian minority. Driver and assistants are hurt. Attackers are still at large.

    26/07/2006 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh makes anti-conversion law tougher

    The state assembly yesterday approved – with a voice vote and without parliamentary debate – a decree that strengthens the anti-conversion law. The Christian Association has protested.

    07/06/2006 INDIA
    Press conference on anti-Christian violence disrupted by Hindu activists
    A group of men forced their way into the conference room shouting and thrashing the place. The two women raped on May 28 for not abjuring Christianity were present at the press conference.

    31/07/2014 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: government "encourages" radical Hindus to persecute Christians
    Reported to AsiaNews by Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). In June and July there have been numerous attacks against the minority. In all cases the extremists are using the weapon of the "anti-conversion law" to threaten the faithful and Christian religious leaders.

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