Karnataka, Pentecostal Christians assaulted by Hindu extremists for 'forced conversions'
by Nirmala Carvalho

The episodes of violence occurred at Ramamurthy Nagar and Lingarajapuram, suburbs of Bangalore. In both cases, the extremists attacked the Christians and burned brochures with Gospel songs. Sajan K George: "The only goal is to foment sectarian tensions."

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Pentecostal Christians were attacked by "saffron" extremists (Hindu nationalists) for alleged forced conversions in Karnataka,  AsiaNews has learned from Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic). He reports the last two episodes of violence against the Christian minority in the suburbs of Bangalore (the state capital), where carried out by Hindutva followers who threaten and harass minority groups. "The attacks on innocent Pentecostal Christians by the saffron extremists - he says - show a dangerous increase in intolerance against the Christian faith, even in public places."

The most recent violence occurred yesterday at Ramamurthy Nagar against a group of Pentecostals led by Pastor Gibi who was distributing gospel leaflets. They were attacked by some radicals on charges of forced conversions.

Earlier on May 13, another group of Protestant Christians was assaulted at Lingarajapuram, again on the outskirts of Bangalore. Sajan K George reports that "Christians were led by Pastor Manohar and were distributing religious pamphlets in a completely free way, leaving free choice to passers-by whether or not to accept the material with extracts from the Gospel." "No one was forced - he adds - to take the texts. Pentecostals offered them freely, divulging the Good News. "

The president of Gcic complains that "in both incidents the extremists set the boxes containing the Christian religious material on fire. Hindu radicals also blocked and threatened the Christian minority. "

"What is a criminal in distributing Christian brochures?" The activist asks. He also points out another aspect: "In both cases, the Christians were in public places. This is neither criminal nor illegal. There was no attempt at conversion either by force or by seduction. " According to the Christian leader, the only goal of extremist groups is to perpetuate the campaign of hatred against Christians. False accusations of forced conversions only lead to sectarian tensions. "