Indian activist bemoans growing anti-Christian hostility
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Global Council of Indian Christians reports two incidents that occurred on the same day in two different states. In Uttar Pradesh four Pentecostal pastors were arrested (and later released); in Maharashtra an evangelical meeting was cancelled. For Sajan K George, Christians are treated “as second-class citizens".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – In India "hostility against the Christian faith is increasing," said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

Speaking to AsiaNews, he cited the latest two incidents to illustrate the anti-Christian trend in two separate states, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. In his view, the fact that the cases occurred on the same day is no coincidence but "a sign of the growing hostility".

Both incidents happened on 14 November. In the first one, police in Uttar Pradesh arrested four Pentecostal pastors on charges of "Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion” and “Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class”.

The four arrested – Pastors Lalji, Radheshyam, Munna and Ramsukh – who were released on Tuesday, were leading a prayer meeting in the village of Chaphar, when some villagers abruptly interrupted the event, harassed the faithful and tore to pieces images of their own deities in order to blame the Christians of desecration and forced conversion.

The second incident comes from Maharashtra when the protest by group of Hindu radicals led to the cancellation of an event organised by evangelical Christians titled ‘City of Hope’ (picture 2), at the Acharya Atre Theatre, which is owned by the municipal corporation of Kalyan-Dombivali.

According to the GCIC president, "the vulnerable Christian minority is under surveillance by the [Hindu] majority in secular India. Christians are not doing anything illegal or criminal; yet they are constantly accused of forced conversions. We have constitutional guarantees; yet, harassment and intolerance are becoming a reality. It is as if the members of the Christian community are second-class citizens."