» 06/22/2012 INDIA New attacks against Pentecostal Christians in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka by Nirmala Carvalho The incidents are driven by ultra-nationalist Hindus (Bharatiya Janata Party, BJP). In both cases, the police arrested the Christians. Sajan George, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Disturbing pattern, made of social pressures and violence."
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The
anti-Christian attacks that are occurring in states led by Hindu nationalists
are "shameful" and show "a disturbing pattern: violence and
appalling social pressures, to limit religious freedom." This is the
opinion of Sajan George, president of the Global
Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after
two further incidents occurred yesterday against Christian communities in
Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Both countries are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an ultra-nationalist party that supports the radical movements
of the Sangh Parivar, who are responsible for frequent anti-Christian violence.
Yesterday morning in the village of
Pati, about 150km from the city of Indore (Bhalwani district, Madhya Pradesh),
the police arrested the minister Arjun along with one of the faithful of his
church, named Rakesh, without any reason. The two were conducting a prayer
meeting, along with 75 other Christians. However, in the afternoon, the agents
released the men without formulating any charge.
A similar episode occurred in
Keshavapura (Karnataka): on the complaint of activists of the Sangh Parivar,
the police arrested the Pentecostal pastor Manjunath and the Evangelists Stella
and Bhavani. The three were distributing leaflets about Christianity at the bus
station in Hubli, when members of the ultra-nationalist Hindu group approached
them, insulted them using very foul language and snatched the leaflets from
them. Then, the activists led them to the nearby police station, where they
remain in custody. The Rev. Manjunath has guided the Indian Church of Christ
(ICC) for seven years, and his community is composed of 25 worshipers.
Madhya Pradesh is one of six Indian
states which have an anti-conversion law. Karnataka has none, but for some time
has been attempting to pass one. "The Christian community", Sajan
George emphasized, "is even more vulnerable where there are such laws. The
ultra-nationalist Hindu groups enjoy the protection of the authorities, and
this encourages them to violate every aspect of the life of a Christian, even
the most intimate and private. But the Constitution of India requires
governments to protect the free exercise of all religions, including
minorities. And this also applies to the states led by the BJP."