» 03/04/2015, 00.00
Religious freedom increasingly at risk in India as new attacks are perpetrated against Christians
In Rajasthan, police beat 20 Christians for handing out leaflets. In Madhya Pradesh, a group of rightwing Hindus disrupted a local Pentecostal prayer service. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), "India is a secular democracy, not a theocracy."
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - India's Christian communities have suffered new
attacks, casting doubts over the status of religious freedom in the country.
The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has reported two new
cases to AsiaNews. The
worst took place in Rajasthan last Friday, when police beat 20 Christians for
distributing leaflets. The
second occurred in Madhya Pradesh last Sunday and involved a Pentecostal
In late February, a group of 20 Christians from Hyderabad (Telangana) travelled
to Jaipur, Rajasthan, to distribute leaflets in Mansarowar Colony.
When this was happening, someone called the police, who took the
Christians into custody. Once in the police station, police officers lined up the
Christians against a wall and whipped their hands and wrists.
"India is a secular democracy, not a theocracy," said Sajan George.
"This group of Christians was just handing out leaflets: there is nothing criminal
in this activity. It is the police that acted in a criminal fashion. Hindus
distribute and even sell religious literature, but are protected by the constitutional
guarantee of freedom of religion, which is constantly denied to Christians."
The second incident occurred in the village of Kasba Jobat (Alirajpur,
Madhya Pradesh). Rev Emmanuel Nobel, head of the
local Pentecostal community, was celebrating the Sunday liturgy, when members of
the Hindu Jagran Manch (a rightwing Hindu organisation) forced their way into
the farmhouse where the meeting was taking place. The
radical group stopped the prayer service, accusing those present of engaging in
"Threats, intimidation and attacks against Pentecostal Christians are
frequent in Madhya Pradesh, a state ruled by the (Hindu nationalist) Bharatiya
Janata Party, this causes fear and insecurity among the state's minorities," the
GCIC president said.
"Unfounded accusations of conversions obtained through force or
deception are often directed against Christians, and the local anti-conversion
law is used
as a political tool to target minorities."
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