11/08/2021, 13.13
INDIA
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In Karnataka Hindu fundamentalists detain Christians during prayers

by Nirmala Carvalho

Accused of carrying out conversions, the Christians were locked in a room until police arrived. In a village in Chhattisgarh, a group of women meeting for a Sunday celebration were beaten.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) – More Christian communities in India have been the target of violence by Hindu extremists. The latest incidents were reported yesterday.

In Maratha Colony, a town in Belgavi district, in the State of Karnataka, militants from Sri Ram Sena, a Hindu nationalist (Hindutva) movement, pushed their way into a prayer hall accusing the officiating pastor, Rev Lema Cherian, of conducting conversion activities.

After locking the clergyman and at least 30 Christians in the hall, they called police. Once the at the scene, police sent everyone home.

For his part, a Sri Ram Sena leader slammed the government for “failing to curb such illegal activities”.

Meanwhile, Rev Cherian denied engaging in forced conversions. “I was just leading a prayer with a group of interested people, like every Sunday. We have not forced anyone to come here; we are just practicing the rites of our religion.”

“These are the usual false accusations,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, speaking to AsiaNews.

“The only people using force were the right-wing nationalists who locked the pastor and the faithful in a room, committing what is a crime under the Indian Penal Code.

“Right-wing groups in Karnataka feel emboldened by the proposal presented by the state government to strengthen its anti-conversion law.”

In another incident in the State of Chhattisgarh, also yesterday, Hindu extremists targeted a group of Christian women attending a prayer meeting in a rural village in Bhilai district.

Although the building where they had gathered was clearly a Christian place of prayer, the women were beaten and everything inside was destroyed.

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