Religious violence increases in India with two Christian communities affected
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - "In secular India, freedom of worship is deteriorating for Christians. Two attacks on the same day, in two different states of the country, are proof that extremist groups feel encouraged to attack Christians because they are not restrained by the law," said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who spoke to AsiaNews after a Protestant and a Pentecostal community were attacked by Hindu radicals.
One incident took place in Madhav Nagar (Bihar). "Militants from the local Bajrang Dal branch disrupted a prayer service involving some 50 people," said Sajan George.
"Rev Kamlesh, who has led the community for almost six years, was pushed around, accused of practicing forced conversions. Some of the people present were beaten. The radicals also damaged musical instruments and part of the furniture."
According to police, Bajrang Dal activists attacked the community because the clergyman was "luring" poor Hindus, and encouraging them to convert. However, "we found no evidence for these allegations," a police officer said. "Christians go there every week to pray and socialise with each other."
The second incident occurred in Kushulanagar (State of Karnataka). As he has done for the past 15 years, Rev K J Mathai, a pastor with the Pentecostal Gospel in Action Fellowship Church, was celebrating Sunday service, along with 30 members of his congregation.
Suddenly, a police jeep arrived. Officers told those present that they had received a complaint against the community that it was involved in "forced conversions".
After waiting for the end of the service, police escorted the pastor and some of the faithful to the police station where they were questioned for several hours.
Meanwhile, outside, a large number of Hindu extremists demonstrated against Christians.
Eventually the religious leader was released, but police warned him to "be careful" when he conducts prayer services.