06/24/2010, 00.00
INDIA
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Tamil Nadu: eight cars belonging to Protestant Church set on fire, Hindu extremists suspected

by Nirmala Carvalho
Hosur police arrested extremists in connection with violence during a Pentecostal convention. Police opens a file against person or persons unknown.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Last night someone set fire to eight cars parked near the New Grace Jesus with Us Pentecostal Church in Mathikere (Hosur, Tamil Nadu). Nothing is known yet of the reasons for the act or why it was done. Police has opened a file against person or persons unknown.

For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), five Hindu activists are to blame; a few days ago, they tried to disrupt a convention organised by Pentecostal Christians.

“Five activists from right wing groups were arrested by police for causing a ruckus at a Gospel convention,” he said. “However, they were released Tuesday morning. The cars were torched last night. We have good reason to believe that it was their work.”

A week ago (17 June), some 12,000 Protestants met in Hosur for a three-day Gospel convention organised by the Pentecostal Church on land made available by privates.

On 18 June, some activists from the Hindu nationalist Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) opposed to the event called on the authorities to revoke the organisers’ permit. They also convinced local Hindu shop owners to close down their stores.

Under police escort, Christians moved their meeting to Mathikere near the New Grace Jesus with Us Church, some eight kilometres from the event’s original site.

Police arrested five Hindu activists suspected of involvement in an arson incident that occurred during the anti-convention protests, but they were released two days ago.

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In Orissa Christians treated worse than animals, says Father Bernard
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