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  • » 02/09/2016, 13.33

    INDIA

    Rising violence against Christians in Uttar Pradesh ahead of state elections

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The state’s legislative assembly is set for renewal next year. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, acts of violence and incidents of discrimination against the Christian minority have reached a crescendo. A pastor and two worshipers have been arrested in Noida. The pastor of the Mission India Church was held for hours without charges along with 20 other religious leaders in Robertsganj.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) – More Christians have been discriminated in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

    Police in Noida arrested and detained Rev Rampal and two Christians, named Lalu Gautam and Ranjeet, on false charges of celebrating religious rites without permission. Police in Robertsganj took into custody Rev Sajju K John, a Pentecostal clergyman with the Mission India Church, and held him and 20 other pastors for hours at a local police station without charges.

    Speaking to AsiaNews, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said that acts of violence against Christians have seen a sudden rise, all connected to radical right-wing nationalist forces, who are seeking visibility ahead of next year’s state elections.

    “Right wing forces are whipping up communal frenzy against the vulnerable minority Christian community on baseless and fabricated conversion charges,” the GCIC president said:

    Rev Rampal and the two Christians were arrested during Sunday Mass. Police in Noida interrupted the service and took the men to a local station, accusing them of celebrating the service without a permit since their church is considered unregistered.

    In Robertsganj, Rev Sajju K John, a Pentecostal pastor, and 20 other Christian leaders were arrested last Saturday, as they recited their evening prayers. A crowd of Hindu radicals had interrupted the meeting, forced participants into the street, humiliated them and beat them with sticks, until the police took them away. They were released hours later without being charged.

    "The GCIC condemns the enthusiasm with which the police intentionally interrupts and stops innocent Christians,” Sajan K George said. “Our greatest concern is the frequency with which such incidents occur in Uttar Pradesh and police inertia vis-à-vis sectarian elements who want to impose their own law and order."

    The Christian leader noted that just a few days ago in Orai, also in Uttar Pradesh, pro-Hindutva* Hindu nationalists publicly humiliated a Christian man.

    After shaving his hair, beard and eyebrows, they dressed him with garlands of shoes and paraded him through the streets riding a donkey. "He too had been falsely accused of forced conversions,” Mr George said.

    In view of the situation, the GCIC has called for action to protect Christians in Uttar Pradesh, especially ahead of next year’s state assembly election.

    * Hindutva (“Hindu-ness”) is an ideology that defines what is Indian with what is Hindu.

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    See also

    05/03/2012 INDIA
    Karnataka: Pentecostal clergyman beaten and arrested for 'proselytising'
    Hindu nationalists interrupt Sunday service and drag the pastor and his wife to prison. This is the second time the community is attacked. Police is in league with extremists and the BJP, which rules the state. Since the start of the year, six anti-Christian attacks have occurred. In 2011, they were 49.

    29/07/2005 SRI LANKA
    Archbishop of Colombo tells government to respect religious freedom
    Archbishop Gomis makes his appeal as two "dangerous" anti-conversion bills make their way through parliament. The recent attack against a local Catholic church was the work of outside fundamentalists who act without reason but to destroy. "The Catholic community is not afraid; fundamentalists are a minority".

    08/07/2011 INDIA
    More anti-Christian attacks in Karnataka
    A Pentecostal preacher is accused of forced conversions. In Belgaum district, BJP officials attack a religious school for girls, threatening to destroy it because it turned down the application of two Hindu girls.

    01/09/2009 INDIA
    Assault on two Protestant churches in Karnataka. Police accused of aiding and abetting
    The Global Council of Indian Christians attributes the attack to local leaders of Sangh Parivar, the Hindu movement accused of many acts of violence against Christians. For the past year the Indian state has been the scene of attacks especially against Protestant churches.

    04/12/2012 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh, anti-Christian violence. Police "accomplice" of Hindu nationalist
    Proponents of Hindutva exploit the anti-conversion law in-force in the State. In the district of Ratlam, Hindu activists accuse some Pentecostal Christians of practicing forced conversions, and the police ordered to stop the prayer service in progress.



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