India: Fresh Incidents of attack in Andhra Pradesh and New Delhi

General March 4, 2008


EFI News

The month of February came to an end with two more attacks by the Hindu fundamentalist groups. On 24th February seventeen bible students were attacked in Kuraballa Kota in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.

Belonging to an independent church, these students were distributing Gospel literature on Sunday evening, when a group led by two Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (National Association of Self-helpers) workers, K. Raghupathi and Anand, arrived on the scene and started beating the students accusing them of conversion.

They then dragged the preachers to the nearby local police station, and filed a complaint of forcible conversions against the victims. Instead of taking action against the culprits, the police registered an FIR Under section 341, 323, 506 and 295A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and let the culprits go scot free. Later the seventeen Bible students were released on bail.

In a separate incident a mob of Hindu radicals attacked a worker from the Gospel Mission of India (GMI) on February 28 in Kalyanpuri, New Delhi.

At about 9:30 pm, a worker from GMI was helping to unload a truck carrying gift packets for poor children when a crowd led by a female councillor from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) approached and accused them of conversion charges. Peter Banerjee, state coordinator of GMI, informed us that the GMI office assistant Samuel Masih, who was distributing gifts at the time of this incident, managed to run away from the mob to inform him about the threatening accusations. Meantime, the crowd took the gift packets to a police station to file a complaint against GMI.

Around 100 people, along with BJP Councilor Satyeshwari Jyoti, alleged that GMI workers were using gifts to allure poor children to Christianity. When Mr. Banerjee reached the police station, some people in the mob started using the abusive language against him and Christians, accusing him of indulging in conversion by allurement.

Satyeshwari Jyoti slapped Mr. Banerjee in front of the police however police managed the situation accordingly. Mr. Banerjee did not sustain any injuries.

The BJP activists wanted the police to file a false case of conversion but the police cooperated and did not registered any false complain.

A mob of BJP supporters protested at the police station, demanding action against the Christians.

When Christian Legal Association (CLA), the legal department of Evangelical Fellowship of India, was informed about the incident they immediately with their representatives went to the police station to help and assist Mr. Banerjee.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
General Secretary,
Evangelical Fellowship of India,
New Delhi, India

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.