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  • » 09/11/2013, 00.00

    INDIA

    Rising anti-Christian violence in Karnataka

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Over the past three months, Hindu extremist groups have carried out at least 15 attacks against the state's Protestant communities. According to Christian leader Sajan George, this is part of an "ominous plan by ultra-nationalist forces to discredit the Congress-led Karnataka administration" and win back power.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Security has become an issue in Karnataka. In the past three months, ultra-nationalist Hindu groups have carried at least 15 attacks against Christian communities. This comes on top of threats, insults and those incidents that have gone unreported to the authorities.

    The latest incident occurred on Sunday, marking a "worrisome" upward trend, said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Speaking to AsiaNews, he said, "These militants seem to flout the rights enshrined in the Indian Constitution."

    On Sunday, 25 Hindu militants from the Rashtriya Savayamsevak Sangh (RSS ) and the Bajrang Dal disrupted a prayer service at the Living Hope Church, an independent Pentecostal community in Yelahanka New Town (north of Bangalore). After they stormed the venue shouting "no prayer and no church", they prevented Church members from continuing their meeting.

    Rev William John went to the local police station and filed a complaint against the attackers. Police inspector Ashok Kumar, who took the pastor's statement, promised to provide the Christian leader and his community with the necessary protection.

    However, a week earlier, the same Pentecostal Church suffered a similar attack. On 1 September, the same militants interrupted another prayer meeting. They accused the clergyman and the members present of carrying out forced conversions from Hinduism to Christianity and then beat them.

    "These attacks," Sajan George noted, "seem to be part of ominous plan by Hindu ultra-nationalist forces to discredit the Congress-led Karnataka administration ahead of parliamentary elections in 2014."

    After nine years in power, the Hindu ultra-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) year lost in the state elections in May to the secularist Congress, the largest party in the country.

    Since its defeat, the BJP has continued to fuel tensions and support attacks against minorities in the state.

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    See also

    26/05/2008 INDIA
    Hindu nationalists in decisive victory in Karnataka
    The Bharatiya Janata Party takes 110 out of 224 seats and increases its series of recent election wins. Now BJP is turning its attention to next year’s Union elections. A Karnataka bishops talks about it.

    16/12/2009 INDIA
    New attack against a church in Karnataka, the fourth in four days
    Stones are thrown at the Grotto of Saint Anthony in the village of Kolaigiri. It is the 66th act of violence against the Christian community in Karnataka. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, the authorities in BJP-run States ignore “a rising culture of violence and terror against minority Christian communities.”

    11/04/2007 INDIA
    Uttar Pradesh vote to decide India’s future
    Over the next month or so Uttar Pradeshis will vote in state elections. With one seventh of all the seats in the lower house of parliament, their state is crucial for the balance of power in Delhi. The ballot is taking place at a time of economic and social crisis. Experts expect the election to be decided by a few votes.

    23/05/2008 INDIA
    Delhi to pay compensation for thousands of Muslim killed or wounded
    In 2002 Hindus went on a rampage in Gujarat, killing and wounding thousands of Muslims under the indifferent eyes of the nationalist-led state government. New Delhi announces a US$ 80 million compensation deal. For experts it is an attempt to secure votes ahead of the 2009 elections whose outcome remains uncertain.

    16/04/2009 INDIA
    What Indian Christians can hope from these elections
    Voting, which began today, is scheduled to last a month. For Christians two factors are a potential sign of change: the end of the alliance between the BJP and Orissa’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his party, and the election of a new leader to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS or National Volunteers' Organisation).



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