03/13/2007, 00.00
INDIA
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Rajasthan, protestant pastor beaten while he tends to sick

Reginald Howell, from the Good Shepard community, was beaten with iron rods by a group of Hindu fundamentalists. The hospital refused treatment fearing reprisal attacks and the police would not file his report

Hanumangarh (AsiaNews/Cbci) – A protestant pastor who was praying with a group of sick people was brutally beaten with iron rods by nationalist militants in the western state of Rajasthan.

 

Pastor Reginald Howell of Good Shepherd Community Church was holding a prayer meeting March 7th with a group of disabled people from Hanumangarh: other Christians from his community volunteers within the community were with him at the time.

 

Shortly after opening the meeting, a group of armed activists erupted into the prayer hall, beating the Pastor on his back with iron rods.  Following the attack the pastor made his way to the local hospital where he was refused treatment by doctors for fear of reprisal attacks by fanatics.

 

Police also refused to file his report against the aggressors and moreover forced him to leave the State and return to his home city in bordering Punjab.

 

Rajasthan is one of the most intolerant states towards non Hindu’s. The Rajasthan Dharma Swatantrik Vidhayak [anti conversion law approved in 2006] permits “all use of force to prevent conversions” and foresees penalties of up to five years imprisonment for those found guilty.

 

In Rajasthan Christians represent 0.11 % of the population, Muslims 8% and Hindus 89%.

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