11/20/2017, 14.25
INDIA
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Sajan K George: arrested Christians, India’s vulnerable

by Nirmala Carvalho

On November 19 some Pentecostals arrested in Madhya Pradesh; on November 15 an evangelical in Chhattisgarh. The leader of the Global Council of Indian Christians seeks protection for the celebrations of November 26, Solemnity of Christ the King.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Some Pentecostal Christians were arrested on November 19 in Damoh District in Madhya Pradesh. Earlier on November 15, an evangelical Christian was stopped in the district of Balod in Chhattisgarh. Reporting the events to AsiaNews, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcci),  Sajan K George says these episodes, "reflect the fear and vulnerability of the Christian population in India."

Regarding the arrest of the Pentecostals in Madhya Pradesh, the Christian leader speaks of "growing intimidation by active extremist groups in the state". Then he adds: "It is really encouraging that the Madhya Pradesh High Court has rebuked the police and ordered the opening of an investigation into the case of children who were attacked."

He refers to another episode of intolerance in the Indian state. On October 23, police arrested two Christians and charged them with kidnapping and forced conversion of minors. Anita Joseph, 50, and Amrit Kumar, 51, were arrested by agents at the Indore railway station and charged by Hindu activists Jagran Manch [Hindu Parishad affiliate of Vhp - ed] for abducting seven children to take them to Mumbai and convert them. The two accomplices rejected the charges and reported that the sole purpose of the trip was participation in a Christian religion course. Investigations by the same agents confirmed that the parents of the children were aware of the reasons for the trip and had given them consent.

After the arrest, the children were accompanied by Childline [An NGO, which deals with the protection of children and the recovery of minors from the streets, ed]. They stayed there for a week without the opportunity to see their relatives. The situation was unlocked only thanks to the intervention of the High Court, which ordered their release and delivery to the families.

Sajan K George recalls that "the Church will celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King on Sunday [November 26th]. It will be celebrated with great grandeur by the small Pentecostal groups, even in a climate of intimidation and fear created by local extremists." "We appeal - he adds - to the authorities, so that they guarantee the security of prayer services and our religious rites. Religious festivals have always been respected by people of all faiths and conducted in a quiet and harmonious way. Unfortunately, religious intolerance is deteriorating public order and endangering the life and property of Pentecostal Christians."

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