Madhya Pradesh: Christian pastor beaten by Hindu extremists
by Nirmala Carvalho

The priest had gathered in prayer with three other Christians when the attackers broke in. Accused of converting tribals by deception. Global Council of Indian Christians: 'After the approval of the anti-conversion law Christians have been targeted'.




New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A Christian priest has been beaten by a group of Hindu extremists in Tichkiya, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. AsiaNews learned from the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic), that the Pentacostal pastor, named Bharat, and belonging to the Bhilala tribe, had gathered in prayer with three other believers in a house when Hindu radicals broke in.

They accused the pastor of "enticing" the tribal population with the Christian faith. After a heated argument, the extremists beat Rev. Bharat and vandalized the prayer center. 

Sajan K. George, president of Gcic, said that Pastor Bharat lives in poverty and would have no means to convert tribals by force or deception: "The only thing he has is the good news, which he freely gives to anyone who is ready to listen to him, and for this reason he has been targeted. 

In rural areas there has been an increase in attacks against Christians, after Madhya Pradesh also passed an anti-conversion law. According to local residents, the measure is being used for political purposes by movements and parties that draw on Hindutva, an ideology that exaggerates Hindu nationalism.

In January, a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad organized a march in the city of Jhabua, claiming that "gullible natives have converted to Christianity and built churches on protected tribal land." The Hindutva leader had then demanded that the government record all conversion activities and suspend government subsidies for tribal converts. 

"Unfortunately, Pentacostal Christians have become the target of a violent campaign in many Indian states," George commented.onavirus, elections, duma