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  • » 02/13/2013, 00.00


    More anti-Christian violence threatens Lent celebrations

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Three incidents take place in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in three successive days. Police complicity and the indifference of political authorities favour anti-Christian attacks by Hindu fundamentalists.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In some areas of India, Christians are living in terror because of the lack of political will to stop anti-Christian violence and the complicity of police with criminals, this according to Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke to AsiaNews about the latest anti-Christian attacks last Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

    The worst attack occurred on Friday in Rajnandgaon (Chhattisgarh). At least 100 members from Hindu nationalist groups Bajrang Dal, Rashtritya Sawayamsevak Sangh (Rss) and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) stormed a church where a Pentecostal community, the  Indian Christian Mission (ICM), was holding a three-day prayer meeting (7-9 February).

    Attackers beat up worshippers using iron rods, accusing them of forced conversions. More than 30 people ended up in hospital with major injuries. After treatment, the Christians were asked to leave by hospital staff who feared a possible attack by Hindu fundamentalists.

    Those who were not injured filed a complaint with police, but the latter rejected their request and instead filed a counterclaim against the Church and its members.

    On Saturday, a group of Hindu extremists led by the village chief in Nagpur (Jhabua District, Madhya Pradesh) attacked two Pentecostal clergymen during a prayer service.

    The victims, Revs Jorder and Ilam, were taken to the Emergency Ward of the nearest hospital. In their case too, police refused to accept a complaint against the attackers, claiming that the church where the service was held was not registered as a place of worship.

    The last attack took place on Sunday in Adilabad District (Andhra Pradesh) when members of the Hindu Vahini, a local Hindu nationalist organisation, filed a complaint against a Christian, Anand Rao, for forced conversions. The latter had come to deliver a lecture on the Bible.

    Without checking on the veracity of the charges, police registered a complaint against the Christian man and took him into custody. He was released on bail the next day.

    "With the start of Lent, Christians will meet on frequent occasions to pray and celebrate Mass, both in public and in private. For this reason, they should be protected," GCIC president Sajan George said.

    However, this kind of attack "shows that not only religious freedom and tolerance but also the rule of law are in danger," he added.

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    See also

    24/09/2012 INDIA
    Bible are burnt, Christians attacked to convert them forcibly to Hinduism
    Two more incidents are recorded in Karnataka. Hindu extremists submit Pentecostal Christians to a 'purification' ceremony at a Hindu temple in order to force them to abjure their Christian faith. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), "these attacks are work of the Hindu party to win votes."

    09/04/2013 INDIA
    Tamil Nadu, more anti-Christian violence: Pentecostal church torched
    Two young faithful were able to extinguish the flames, avoiding tragedy. Leaders of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Hindu Nationalist groups foment anti-Christian hatred. The construction of new places of worship also at risk".

    17/11/2008 INDIA
    Hindu extremists attack Pentecostal church in Mumbai
    Clergyman is pushed and shoved, beaten and left unconscious in the street. Hindu radicals accuse the Christian community of involvement in conversions. Monsignor Fernandes, bishop of Bombay, says these actions are terrorism and endanger Indian democracy.

    25/01/2010 INDIA
    Two churches attacked in the State of Karnataka
    Hindu extremists are blamed for this morning’s attacks in the dioceses of Mysore and Karwar. The Holy Family Parish Church was attacked in Inkal (Mysore diocese); it had been also attacked by a group of 70 Hindus in 2002. Christians are increasingly worried.

    03/02/2014 INDIA
    Andhra Pradesh: rising anti-Christian violence by radical Hindus
    Sajan George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), sounds the alarm bells. Fundamentalist group Hindu Vahini is of particular concern. In mid-January, one of its members stabbed to death an evangelical clergyman. According to the GCIC leader, anti-Christian violence is likely to become "more brutal" as India's general elections approach.

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