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    » 06/22/2012, 00.00

    INDIA

    New attacks against Pentecostal Christians in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka

    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."

     

     

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    See also

    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.

    27/09/2010 INDIA
    Karnataka: police arrest Pentecostal pastor beaten by Hindu extremists
    During Sunday service Hindu extremists stormed the church, beat the Pastor, insulted and threatened those present. The police then arrested the pastor, on charges of having converted people. Anti-Christian violence a daily occurrence in the region.

    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.

    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.

    25/09/2008 INDIA
    Despite curfew a hundred homes and two churches set on fire overnight in Orissa
    Christians are scared of night-time attacks. Radical Hindus attack police, guilty in their eyes of jailing some of their fellow co-religionists involved in violence in past days. Christians forced to reconvert are also forced to burn churches and homes of other Christians. Terrorism sponsored by the state of Orissa comes in for harsh criticism.



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