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    » 01/04/2016, 00.00

    INDIA

    "Second Class Citizens": 15 Christians arrested for alleged forced conversions

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Police in Puttur in Karnataka stop celebrations to "protect" the Church, surrounded by Hindu radicals. The religious authorities called to testify and handed rules for future prayer services. These included the obligation to notify the police. Catholic leader: "In secular India, Christians are persecuted and vulnerable."

    Bangalore (AsiaNews) - The Christian minority "is vulnerable and subjected to harassment and persecution by both extremist as well as authorities, who are responsible for protecting citizens. Clearly, Christians are considered second-class citizens in secular India”, says Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

    George was commenting to AsiaNews on the umpteenth arrest of 15 Christians for alleged forced conversions in the Indian state of Karnataka. The incident happened on the eve of the new year in the parish of bannur Jodukatte Puttur, in the southern district of Kannada. The police interrupted the religious function of the Believers Church [a congregation of evangelical Protestants - ed] justifying the action as "protection" from the dozens of Hindu radicals who had surrounded the Church.

    On the evening of 31 December 2015, the Protestant Church of bannur Jodukatte organized a prayer to usher in the new year. More than 15 people attended the celebration, mostly migrant workers from Perne, Salmara, bannur and Badagannur [various locations of Karnataka - ed].

    The function attracted the attention of members of two Hindu extremist ultranationalist groups, the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The radicals tried to stop the ceremony by raiding the church, but were blocked by locked doors. Police intervened to "calm tempers" and took faithful from within the church to the nearest police station, they were released after a few hours.

    The next day the religious leaders were called to testify and ensure that there has been no attempt to proselytize. Police handed them rules to be observed in the future, including the obligation to alert the authorities ahead of all prayer services and celebrations.

    The president of the GCIC reports that no action has been taken "against those who disturb social peace". "The GCIC – he concludes - strongly condemns the police actions, who intervened quickly and acted against people who were praying in a private place. The police should have only dispersed the mob that had gathered outside the church. "

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    See also

    11/06/2014 INDIA
    Radical Hindus target Christian communities: murder and torture
    The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), denounces two cases to AsiaNews, which occurred in Orissa and Bihar. In the first, a man was tortured and killed "by mistake": the attackers wanted to kill his son who had just been baptized. In the second, the extremists assaulted an entire family not even sparing the children: they had met with the pastor of the local church.

    29/04/2010 INDIA
    Karnataka: Christians attacked by Hindu extremists, arrested by police
    A group of women and children coming home from a peace festival are attacked and insulted by a gang of youth from the Bajrang Dal. Instructed by the extremists, police take the Christians into custody in a local police station and continue humiliating them overnight. For Christian activists, the incident is a sign of India’s “talibanisation”.

    24/12/2009 INDIA
    Peace and forgiveness, two sides of Christmas among Orissa Christians
    The faithful prepare to celebrate Christmas with hope, even after a long period of persecution. The authorities in Kandhamal have promised security and call for “respect and solidarity with Christian communities.” People want to “forget the pain, divisions and the loss of dear ones.”

    10/01/2007 INDIA
    Hindu militants forcibly prevent alleged “mixed marriage”
    Armed with swords and tridents, a group broke into a Marriage Registrar’s office in Madhya Pradesh to prevent marriage between a woman – who they claimed was a Hindu – and a Christian man. The woman says she is animist and has threatened to commit suicide.

    06/05/2006 INDIA
    Madhya Pradesh: "Social preparation" to counter anti-Christian violence

    This is the view of the chairperson of the state's Christian Forum. The intensified violence against our communities is alarming, the spokesman of the Bishops' Conference told AsiaNews. The anti-conversion law is the tool used by the administration to incriminate and molest us.





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