As anti-Christian violence continues, fear and insecurity increase among minorities
by Nirmala Carvalho
Hindu fundamentalists carry out attacks in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. "These radical groups claim to be defenders of Hinduism just because they practice the majority religion," Global Council of Indian Christians tells AsiaNews.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "Anti-Christian attacks continue in India and fear and insecurity are growing in minority communities," said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke to AsiaNews after Hindu fundamentalists carried out fresh attacks against Christians in the last two days in the states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

On Monday, a group of ultra-nationalists attacked about 150 members of a Pentecostal community in Sirisguda (Chhattisgarh), beating them with sticks. Only police intervention allowed the nine people wounded to go to hospital.

The violence was sparked the Christians' failure to "pay" a donation to the local Hindu temple. For this reason, they also lost government rations a month ago.

Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, a group of 16 people yesterday stopped two Pentecostal clergymen from the Katni Brethren Assembly, who were going home with others after attending a wedding.

The attackers searched the Christians; when they found Bibles in their bags, they tore the sacred books and attacked them.

 "Hindu fundamentalist groups," Sajan George told AsiaNews, "claim to be defenders of Hinduism just because they practice the majority religion." This, he noted, "is an insult and an attack on religious freedom as guaranteed by our Constitution."

Not surprisingly, said the GCIC president, "anti-conversion laws that are in place in both Madhya Pradesh and in Chhattisgarh have been recently modified to make them even tougher."

Theoretically, these measures should prohibit conversions obtained by force or money. However, they have been used to persecute Christians and other minorities, on false accusations of forced conversions.

Hindu fundamentalist groups responsible for such attacks are part of the Sangh Parivar, an umbrella term for India's nationalist groups, politically embodied by the Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party, BJP), a nationalist party that won this year's parliamentary election.