Hindu songs in a church against ‘conversions’ in Karnataka
by Nirmala Carvalho

Hindu nationalist right-wing militants carry out the provocation at the Bairidevarkoppa Church. Police arrested the head of the Pentecostal community, who led the Sunday service.

Bengaluru (AsiaNews) – Anti-Christian intolerance has taken a new turn in the Indian state of Karnataka. Routinely every Sunday, Hindu extremists enter churches to chant provocatively Hindu devotional songs in order to intimidate worshippers present.

Last Sunday, members of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, two Hindu nationalist organisations, pushed their way into Bairidevarkoppa Church, Hubbali, singing bhajans, Hindu religious songs. The makeshift church belongs to the small local Pentecostal community.

They Hindu militants claim that their action was prompted by forced conversions allegedly carried out in that church.

A video of the incident shows a few dozen people seated singing hymns with their hands raised above their heads in prayer.

Rev Somu Avaradhi and some fellow Pentecostals say that they were attacked when they tried to stop the provocation, sustaining some minor injuries that were later treated in hospital.

Eventually, local police arrested Rev Avaradhi following a complaint filed by a certain Vishvanath, who claims that he was taken to the church in order to be converted.

“Chanting bhajans in a church offends our religious feelings,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking about this latest episode of anti-Christian violence to AsiaNews.

“The rising number of such incidents is more and more alarming,” he explained. What is more, “Right-wing nationalist vigilantes have put Pentecostal communities under surveillance while the pandemic and the lockdown have been used to further restrict the right to religious freedom that is constitutionally guaranteed in India.”