» 02/21/2013, 00.00
Madhya Pradesh: Hindu fundamentalists attack Christians even in the privacy of their homes
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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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