04/30/2018, 09.42
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Pentecostal pastors abused in a Tamil Nadu Hindu temple

by Nirmala Carvalho

The attack took place in the Kanyakumari district. In the last three months, at least 15 episodes of violence against Pentecostals. Sectarian question is a sensitive topic in the district.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Two Pentecostal Christian pastors were dragged into a Hindu temple, seated in the corridors and covered with ash on their faces. Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews that the violence took place on April 22nd in Kanyakumari district, Tamil Nadu. The GCIC, states its leader, "is embittered by the deplorable [gesture] of humiliation and repeated harassment against the faithful and places of worship".

The Christian leader complains that at least 15 similar incidents have occurred in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in the last three months. All of them had Pentecostal Christians as their target. Specifically, the aggression suffered by the two pastors "was filmed by criminals, who then posted the images online. The video shows that the religious leaders being forced to cover themselves with the sacred ashes inside the Mutharamman temple in Sandhaivalai. Then they were insulted despite one of the two sang the Bharat Mata ki jai [song typical of the Indian tradition that celebrates India as Mother Earth, ed] ".

The pastors were attacked on charges of distributing leaflets that presented criticism of central power. The president of the Christian association informs that on April 28th the police arrested a man named Suresh, after the case had been registered at the Arulvaimozhi station. The arrested person was charged under sections 153A (promotion of hostility between different groups based on religion, race etc., and acts that impair the maintenance of harmony) and 342 (illegal imprisonment) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to Sajan K George, "the attack on Pentecostal pastors takes place in a district sensitive to the sectarian question. The constituency of Kanyakumari is represented in the Lok Sabha [the Lower House of Parliament - ed] by Pon Radhakrishnan, Minister of the Union of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party, Hindu nationalist party) ". Last April 17, he concludes, "about 20 thousand Christians of various denominations organized protests in at least 16 cities of Tamil Nadu, chanting slogans against the government inertia in identifying the anti-Christian activities conducted by high caste Hindu groups".

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