06/17/2015, 00.00
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Kerala: five radical Hindus arrested for attacking a Christian gathering

by Nirmala Carvalho
Those detained are apparently affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamesevak Sangh, a Hindu extremist paramilitary group. The Global Council of Indian Christians praises the authorities’ swift action.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Police in Kerala arrested five people in connection with an attack against a Christian prayer group in Attingal.

According to law enforcement sources, the five could be members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu radical paramilitary group. Police, which is still looking for their accomplices, filed complaints against 20 people.

Last Sunday, the attackers targeted a Pentecostal community, the Reaching the World with Love Ministry, when the faithful were attending a spiritual meeting. Those arrested – TR Anoop, 38; Anoop, 30; Vimal, 30; Abhijit, 22; and Deepu, 20 – are all natives of Attingal.

According to police, the RSS militants stormed the Pentecostal prayer meeting, accusing the Christian group of forced conversions of Hindus.

"Kerala is known as 'God's Country',” Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews. “Unfortunately, Christians cannot freely worship him because of rising radicalism in the state.”

Still, “The GCIC is very grateful for the authorities’ swift action against militants. A culture of mob violence harms society and the state’s development. If people are unable to live together and respect each other’s beliefs, how can we move forward?"

Kerala is considered one of India’s most tolerant states. Nation-wide, Christians are only 2.5 per cent, but in this southwestern state, they represent 19 per cent of the population.

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