Hindu radicals beat seven Pentecostal pastors in Agra alleging 'forced conversions'
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Christians were at a meeting in a hotel. Some 20-25 Hindu nationalists stormed the building shouting “Hail to the god Ram". For Sajan K George, "charges of forced conversion are false".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In Agra, Uttar Pradesh, a group of Hindu radicals beat up seven Pentecostal clergymen following allegations of "forced conversions" against them. At least three of them had to be hospitalised as a result of the injuries they sustained.

After the attack, police arrested the victims who were later released on bail. By contrast, their nationalist attackers ran away without leaving a trace.

For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “accusations of (forced) conversion are false and without proof. All this goes against freedom of religion enshrined in our Constitution," he told AsiaNews.

The incident occurred last Wednesday at a hotel in Agra, at the annual meeting under the banner of the UP Family Church. The gathering’s agenda included planning for the upcoming Christmas celebrations.

Rev Ravi Kumar filed a lawsuit at the Tajganj police station, reporting that about 20-25 people from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu ultra-nationalist group, and the Bajrang Dal (VHP youth wing) stormed the hotel lobby shouting "Jai Shri Ram" (Hail to the god Ram) and insulted the participants.

The meeting included “women and children," the clergyman noted. The extremists “attacked with sticks, tore the clothes off several women during the scuffle and damaged musical instruments."

For now, the case filed by the reverend has not led to any arrest. The one filed by the radicals, through a man named Sunny Banswar, led to the arrest of the attacked Christians, who were later released on bail.