» 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."
Sister who was raped gives deposition to police, but will not return to Orissa
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Karnataka: two pastors assaulted and arrested on false accusations of forced conversions
They were ambushed by 10 Hindu radicals while returning from the house of a religious believer. Insults, threats and beatings, then the complaint and arrest. The Global Council of Indian Christians: "Complicity between extremists and the government."
Christmas, moment of peace and hope for young widows of Orissa
The husband of Asmitha Digal, a 25-year-old mother of two daughters, was killed by Hindu fundamentalists during the first days of the pogrom against Christians. The woman testifies to the violence she has suffered, but says that she will not give in to the logic of violence. A Christian activist denounces treatment as "second-class citizens."
In Orissa, a peaceful Christmas, but "armored"
Under heavy security measures, Christmas celebrations were carried out with no incidents, after months of anti-Christian violence. In 2007, there was a true Christmas of martyrdom. But thousands of Christians have celebrated Christ in the refugee camps.
Bishop of Orissa: Glory in heaven and peace on earth, including Kandhamal
The archbishop of Bhubaneshwar emphasizes that Christmas is an occasion of joy even in the refugee camps for persecuted Christians. Amid the sufferings and anguish of more than 50,000 victims, sharing and solidarity have shone from the entire world, the beginning of a new world, a new world order. The reflections of Archbishop Cheenath were gathered by Nirmala Carvalho.
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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