Priest attacked with a machete as Karnataka discusses anti-conversion law
A parish priest in Belagavi managed to escape an attack, recorded on CCTV. In the last 12 months, 38 episodes of anti-Christian violence were documented in Karnataka. Police detained a Christian couple in Madhya Pradesh after they were accused of "luring" tribal women to convert.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Anti-Christian violence continues in India.
In Karnataka, where discussions are underway over a disputed anti-conversion law, the latest incidents involve a Catholic priest attacked with a machete in Belagavi district and three Pentecostal preachers who had their religious books seized and burnt in Kolar.
The first episode took place last Saturday afternoon when an unidentified man wielding a machete entered St Joseph Worker Parish Church where Fr Francis D’Souza serves as parish priest.
The clergyman was able to avoid the attack and escape, while the attacker eventually left the scene. The church's security cameras recorded the incident. Fr D’Souza later filed a report with police.
Yesterday, in Kolar district, some Hindu nationalist activists stopped three Pentecostal Christians, accusing them of promoting conversions. They took away their religious books and set them on fire.
The police took no action, saying that the Christian community had been warned. For their part, the Hindu nationalists claim that they “did not commit any violence,” but only reacted to “those who distributed Christian books in our neighbourhood”.
“In the last 12 months we have documented 38 attacks against Christians in Karnataka,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking to AsiaNews.
“Right-wing nationalist leaders create these situations, denying religious freedom to India’s small Christian community,” he explained.
Led by Catholic Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, Christians took to the streets to protest against the anti-conversion law that the state government wants to pass.
Other incidents of anti-Christian intolerance were reported recently in other parts of the country, most notably in Madhya Pradesh. In the State’s Barwani district police arrested a couple on charges of “luring” tribal women with the aim of converting them to Christianity.
Anar Singh Jamre, 35, and his wife Laxmi Jamre, 32, live in the village of Nawalpura. They were arrested on the basis of Madhya Pradesh’s anti-conversion law, which was tightened only a few months ago.
The action was taken on the basis of a simple complaint filed by a villager. The two were later released on bail.