Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Under police escort, radical Hindus of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal barged into the house of a Pentecostal Christian yesterday in Rajasthan, accusing those present of practicing forced conversions and confiscating all Bibles.
Under pressure from the extremists the police arrested the Rev. Lal Singh - who was leading the prayer service - and the home owner Indram Chauhan. After several hours of interrogation, the two were released without charges against them. AsiaNews learned of this latest episode from the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
The incident occurred at Haldad, in the district of Barwani. Sajan George, GCIC president, told AsiaNews: "We are concerned about the continuing abuses and repeated false allegations of conversions made against the Pentecostal pastors in Rajashtan. It is indeed ironic that the police, which by law has the duty to protect citizens, accompanied the fundamentalists".
Moreover, adds the Christian leader, "the prayer service was taking place in the privacy of the home of a private citizen. The pastor was not doing anything illegal, freedom of religion is a constitutional guarantee. Yet the forces of Hindu right continue their reign of terror, violating the law and attacking the vulnerable Christian minority".
Rajasthan is one of the Indian states where the religious freedom of Christians is most threatened by Hindu radicals. Since 2008 the final ratification of an anti-conversion law has been pending, which if approved would ban conversions that take place "through force, fraud or coercion" and condemns those who practice them to five years in prison and 50 thousand rupees (about 750 euro) fine.
However, these measures (in force in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Himanachal Pradesh) are used as a political tool against minorities, in particular to curb conversions from Hinduism to Christianity.