EFI News: Incidents of Persecution Reported from Chhattisgarh and Karnataka, India

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January 25, 2010

Eight Christians arrested in Chhattisgarh

Based on the complaint lodged by the Hindu extremists against the Christians of forceful conversion, Chhattisgarh police on January 22 arrested eight Christians in Sindhu Bhawan, Champa, Chhattisgarh.

According to an EFI correspondent Akhilesh Edgar, a mob of about 60 Hindu extremists attacked the Christian Healing Meeting, accused them of luring people to forcibly convert them into Christianity and brutally beat them up.

Starting from January 19, a group of new followers of Christ organized the healing meeting with about 200 Christians in attendance. At about 8:30 p.m. a mob of intolerant Hindu extremists shouting Hindu slogans forcefully entered the meeting from the back door of the hall and attacked the Christians.

The extremists falsely accused the Christians of forceful conversion, beat them up, burned Bibles, gospel literature, laptops and furniture.

Police were alerted and they arrived at the spot at about 9:30 and took 60 Christians for interrogation. Eight believers were arrested under Section 151 of the Indian Penal code for assembling after commanded to disperse and Section 3&4 of the Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion Act. The Christians were sent to Jangir jail on the same night.

Local Christian leaders are taking steps to get the Christians out of jail at press time.

Side Note: A June 2006 report by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) found that Hindu nationalist groups in Madhya Pradesh had frequently invoked the state's anti-conversion law as a pretext to incite mobs against Christians. The NCM report also pointed at police collusion in the attacks.

"The life of Christians has become miserable at the hands of miscreants in connivance with the police," the NCM said in its report. "There are allegations that when atrocities were committed on Christians, the police remained mere spectators, and in certain cases they did not even register their complaints."

The NCM is an independent body created by Parliament in 1993 to monitor and safeguard the rights of minorities.

Kindly pray for Chhattisgarh which is ruled by the pro Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party.

Church attack continues in Karnataka

Anti- Christian violence continued unabated in Karnataka where suspected Hindu extremists damaged a statue on January 25 in Hinkal.

The attacked took place in the early hours on Monday where the statue of Holy Family Church was pulled down and crashed. Police visited the spot and an investigation is underway, reported our correspondent.

In a similar incident in Mangalore district, a cross put up in Bhatkal church in Mangalore was desecrated on January 23.

Earlier Incident: Holy Family Church on February 2002 faced the same kind of attack where armed Hindu extremists shouting slogans hurled stones at the church, smashed window panes and ransacked the parish priest Fr. William’s room. Four Christians received hospital treatment and Christians including women and children were chased and assaulted

Karnataka ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party recorded the highest anti- Christian violence in 2009. Kindly pray for peace and religious tolerance in the state.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
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