01/12/2011, 00.00
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Karnataka, pastor attacked calls for government protection

by Nirmala Carvalho
Isaac Samuel, who escaped a deadly attack on January 2, rejects the charges of inciting religious hatred and demands that the government allow him to pray in safety. He denounces police injustice against nomadic Christians.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Isaac Samuel, a Protestant pastor miraculously escaped a deadly attack on January 2 at Davanagere, Karnataka, asks for protection for himself and his fellow pastors. Isaac Samuel, was assaulted by a group of Hindu extremists wielding an axe while leading a prayer service at Davanagere. (03/01/2011 Attempted murder of an Indian Christian leader in Karnataka). His attackers then filed a complaint against him, claiming that he was making conversions, and inciting religious hatred. Isaac Samuel suffered wounds that resulted in him receiving 11 stitches.

In an exclusive interview with AsiaNews, he rejects accusations of proselytizing and says: "I have been  conducting peaceful worship services for the Akki Pikki normads for the past two years and never before has there been any accusation of conversion activities”.  “These are nomadic tribes – he adds - “who live in a squatters colony and our church is a little hut in the squatters colony.  I have only told these nomads of the Love of Jesus Christ, the worship gives hope to these people and for this I was beaten".

Isaac Samuel also made an appeal: "I would like the Karnataka Government to give protection to me and my family and to give me security to carry on my worship services. And Importantly to give protection to all the pastors in Devangere and Karnataka who are regularly attacked by the Hinduvta extremists. "

Isaac Samuel went on to denounce police collusion with extremists: "Additionally, these 15 Nomadic families were chased away by the Police, following the assault on me on 2nd Jan,.  These are the marginalized and poorest people who have been living in that camp for the past ten or so years, and the police just drove them away….without any other place or shelter.  This is a gross injustice to the poor people".


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