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  • » 03/12/2015, 00.00

    INDIA

    Rajasthan: "escorted" by police, radical Hindus attack Christians Pentecostals

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The militants raided the home of a private citizen, accusing those present of forced conversions. Pentecostal pastor and the owner of the house arrested, later released. Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "Ironic that the police, which by law has the duty to protect citizens, accompanied the fundamentalists".

    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.

     

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    See also

    27/02/2015 INDIA
    No more attacks on Mother Teresa, "beloved by India and the world".
    In an editorial Fr. Charangat, Director of Communications and Media for the Archdiocese of Mumbai, criticizes statements made by the head of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Accusing the founder of the Missionaries of Charity of helping the poor to get them to convert is "an arrogant, incorrect, misleading, malicious act and done in bad faith". "The Catholic Church does not recognize conversions made by force or deception".

    27/10/2014 INDIA
    More violence in Chhattisgarh: 40 Hindu radicals attack a Christian community
    The attack took place in Bastar district, home to an ongoing systematic persecution of the minority. Extremists often invoke the anti-conversion law to attack Christians. President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "We demand the immediate end of violence."

    29/03/2012 INDIA
    Gujarat, allegations of forced conversions of First Communion 32 children
    The priests denounced by the anti-conversion law of the State. For Fr. Cedric Prakash the allegations are "unfounded, misleading and malicious: they are all children of Catholic families." New anti-Christian attacks by Hindu ultra-nationalists in Madhya Pradesh: three arrests in Chindwara and thousands of people in prayer attacked in Barwani.

    23/12/2004 INDIA
    Government and Hindu fundamentalists against Christians in Orissa
    Balasore Bishop appeals to central government. Police and media spread false rumours about conversions to justify anti-Christian violence.

    13/09/2014 INDIA
    Bihar, four people arrested for "forcing" Dalit to convert to Islam
    Complaint lodged by victim’s wife. The latter, however, said that he became Muslim by choice. Christian leader warns: "If forced conversions are perpetrated by Hindu radicals they are considered 'a homecoming."



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