06/07/2013, 00.00
INDIA
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Christians in Andhra Pradesh targeted by Hindu extremists

by Nirmala Carvalho
Sajan George, head of the Global Council of Indian Christians, complains of a climate of terror imposed by the Rashtriya Swayanmsevak Sang (RSS). On Wednesday, more than 50 extremists attacked the Protestant community in Mandal (Hyderabad). Six pastors were beaten and left unconscious. The authorities failed to intervene.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) - The Rashtriya Swayanmsevak Sang, a Hindu extremist organisation, has imposed a reign of terror in Andhra Pradesh with the approval of the authorities. For months, the Protestant community has been the victim of attacks by radical groups. The last one occurred on Wednesday when a group of 50 extremists armed with sticks and stones attacked the Telugu Baptist Church in Mandal, Ranga Reddy District (Hyderabad).

For Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, such events besmirch the reputation of the Republic of India, which has tried to project itself to the world as a secular state and a country of tolerance. "These intolerant extremists," George said, "have imposed their own reign of terror in Andhra Pradesh and threaten the existence of Christians."

Wednesday's attack took place at lunchtime, during the community's monthly meeting. According to witnesses, Hindus broke into their building and dragged six pastors into the streets accusing them of forced conversions to Christianity. Outside, they beat them, leaving them on the ground unconscious. The incident unfolded amid the complete indifference of the authorities.

Yesterday, the Protestant community in Mandal staged a sit-in protest outside the headquarters of the local government urging the authorities to arrest those responsible for the attack and uphold  freedom of religion and worship.

 

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