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    » 05/13/2015, 00.00

    INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh: Hindu radicals attack three churches

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The incidents occurred last night in Indore. The actions were carried out against opposition leader Sonia Gandhi who was supposed to inaugurate a new orphanage run by missionaries. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, “religious freedom is on a downward spiral for Christians”.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Last night, Hindu radicals attacked three churches in Indore, Madhya Pradesh’s largest city. The extremists threw stones, destroyed crosses, vandalised various items and attempted to set fire to one of the places of worship. However, police intervened before they could carry out their plans.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), strongly condemned the attacks, which took place a few hours before Sonia Gandhi, president of the opposition Congress Party, inaugurated a missionary-run orphanage.

    The Sanskritik Jagran Manch, a local right-wing Hindu organisation, has come under suspicion for what happened after it threatened "direct action" against Gandhi yesterday if she actually opened the facility.

    The orphanage is located in a building previously owned by a private organisation. District authorities took it over and gave it to missionaries to turn into an orphanage.

    One of the places of worship attacked is St Paul’s Anglican Church. Its priest, Rev Ramesh Chandekar said that militants damaged and destroyed a number of items, including a crucifix, holy vessels and the microphone.

    The attackers also tried to set fire to a second Protestant church, throwing burning rags inside. Immediately alerted, police acted quickly and put out the flames before they could spread.

    Extremists also threw stones at a third (Protestant) church, breaking glass panels and windows.

    Attacks on churches in Madhya Pradesh, a state run by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), reflect the situation of the state’s tiny Christian community, whose “religious freedom is on a downward spiral”.

    In view of  the findings presented in the chapter dedicated to India in the 2015 Report on Religious Freedom in the World, issued by the US Commission on religious freedom, the GCIC president called on "The BJP government to keep its most extremists elements under control, and act swiftly to stop them by enforcing the Indian Penal Code as a deterrent and as a warning to radical groups, who attack without provocation the Christian minority.”

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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.

    18/11/2008 INDIA
    India state elections: ten Christians running for office in Madhya Pradesh
    BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh begins voting on 27 November. Some Christians are running as candidates in a number of parties.

    26/07/2016 15:23:00 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: abducted and beaten, two Christians are arrested by police for "forced conversions"

    Rev Ramlal Kori, a Pentecostal minister, and a friend named Nandalal were abducted by Hindu radicals in the village of Gadra, dragged into the forest and beaten with sticks. The police found them eight hours later tied to a tree. Instead of arresting the criminals, the authorities detained the Christians on the basis of the state’s anti-conversion law.



    21/02/2013 INDIA
    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.

    19/04/2010 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: Christian dies fleeing Hindus
    A 25-year-old man drowns in a well after a group of radical Hindus breaks a prayer meeting. The archbishop of Bhopal tells AsiaNews that the State has failed to protect Christians.



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