Evangelical Fellowship of India News Persecution Watch, April 1, 2011

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1. Christian Priest attacked and Robbed
2. Christians attacked in Uttarakhand
3. Christians assaulted in Coorg, Karnataka
4. Christians assaulted in Uttar Pradesh
5. Christian accused of forceful conversion in Karnataka
6. Fourteen Christians arrested in Orissa
7. An Appeal to the Authorities

April 1, 2011

Christian Priest attacked and Robbed

Unidentified miscreants on 30 March attacked a catholic priest and robbed him in his residence in Badwha, Khargone district of Madhya Pradesh.

Our correspondent reported that the incident took place at about 2:30 a.m. when three unidentified people entered the room of Fr. Sebastian Kaiparambil, Parish Priest of St. Mary's Church and manager of the St. Mary's Convent School, thrashed him while ordering him to hand over an unspecified document and stole his money amounting to rupees seventy thousand (Rs. 70,000/-) alongwith two mobile phones.

Fr. Sebastian suffered head injury and is hospitalized in Chauitram hospital. Suspicion points to a teacher in St. Mary's Convent School, who was recently dismissed upon the numberless complaints from the parents and teachers. "He has been served notices many times but we are not sure whether he is involved in the incident." St Mary's School principal Sr. Rita reported.

Archbishop Dr. Leo Cornelio, Chairman of the Bishops Council, Madhya Pradesh has submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister regarding the attack against Fr Sebastian and the recent incident of Statue break at Jhabua on 18 March. Police promised the Christians security. Investigation is underway.

Local Christians expressed their anxiety over the attacks launched against them on every Christian major festival. Kindly pray for them

Christians attacked in Uttarakhand

On 28 March in Phullaiya, Khatima, Uttarakhand, about 30 Hindu extremists barged into the Believer’s Church's inaugural meeting of its Community Development Programme, accused the Christians of forceful conversion and beat them.

Our correspondent reported that at about 11 a.m. the extremists barged into the meeting, accused the local pastor, Father Anoop Jena, and three other Christians, Mohan Babu, Rohit George and Danny, of luring people to convert to Christianity by their social activities and started beating them up. The four Christians sustained bruises all over their bodies.

The extremists later lodged a police complaint against the Christians of forceful conversion. Police at about 12 o'clock arrived at the spot and took Father Anoop Jena and three believers to the police station for questioning.

After the intervention of local Christian leaders, the Christians were released in the evening without charges.

EFI Advocacy Desk is assisting the Christians in lodging an FIR against the attackers.

Christians assaulted in Coorg, Karnataka

Karnataka police arrested four Christians after Hindu extremists attacked them on 26 March in Devasthur Kaloor, Coorg district.

Our correspondent Rev Noel Kotian reported that evangelist, A J Diwakar and three women identified only as Telsi, Savitha and Agnes from Christ Fellowship Church went to Deavathur village to distribute gospel tracts when some Hindu extremists snatched their gospel tracts and questioned them on their activities.

Soon, the extremists swelled up and surrounded the Christians and started verbally abusing them for their faith. They repeatedly slapped, kicked and punched the Christians while some spat on them. It was reported that evangelist Diwakar was tied up on a tree while he was attack in this manner.

Police came to the site and took the Christians to the Madikeri Rural Police Station and charge-sheeted them under sections - 295 (A), 506, 447, and 448. The Christians were sent to Madikeri jail after they appeared before the Magistrate.

Christians assaulted in Uttar Pradesh

On 20 March in Lonianpurawa, Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh, an angry mob of 60 Hindu extremists barged into the worship meeting of Indian Evangelical Mission’s Healing Church, verbally abused the Christians and beat them up.

The incident took place earlier on 13 March when some Hindu extremists opposed to the worship meetings of Indian Evangelical Mission's aHealing Church's conducted by Christian convert Gudgi Verma and his wife Saroja Verma , who were delivered from the evil spirit by Christ on 27 September 2008 . Thereafter, they have been faithfully serving the Lord.

It was alleged that the local MLA, Gorakhnath Baba sent about 25 extremists to threaten the Christians with dire consequences if they conduct future worship meetings, in opposition to the thriving ministry. But the Christians continued to faithfully serve the Lord.

Again on 16 March, the MLA and 50 extremists went to the church and urged the couple to stop all Christian worship meetings, ordered them to put back Hindu idols in their house, give offerings to the temple and observe all Hindu festivals.

On March 20, Evangelist Abhay Kumarand Keshov Parsad went to Lonianpurawa to conduct Sunday worship meeting with Verma in The Healing Church. Amid the worship service, about 70 extremists suddenly barged in, verbally abused the Christians for their faith and beat them up. About four church members were badly bruised.

The situation in the area is reported as tense and local Christians are praying so that they can resume their regular Sunday worship meetings.

Christian accused of forceful conversion in Karnataka

On March 9, Karnataka police registered a charge of forced conversion against a Christian couple based on a false complaint submitted by Nitin Poojary at Urwa police station in Mangalore.

Our correspondent reported that Poojary’s Christian employer, Julian Lobo, reprimanded him after Poojary failed to show up for work without notice at a juice center near Kankanady. Poojary subsequently accused Lobo of inviting him to a house in Ashok Nagar and trying to force him to convert to Christianity; he further claimed that upon refusing, he was stripped and assaulted. Later, with the assistance of the members of the Hindu extremist Bajrang Dal, Poojary registered the police case.

Mangalore-based news portal Daijiworld reported that Congress Party leader Ivan D'Souza, along with other Christian representatives, submitted a memorandum to Police Commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh on March 10 asserting Lobo's innocence, stating that the allegations against him were completely fabricated. D'Souza also alleged that Bajrang Dal activists grossly misrepresented an otherwise simple conflict and demanded strict action against the responsible leaders of the Hindu extremist group.

14 Christians arrested in Orissa

Orissa police arrested 14 Christians on 29 March on the basis of the complaint lodged against them for forceful conversion in Orissa's Mayurbhanj district.

Our correspondent reported that the arrests came after a police complaint was filed against two pastors, Samuel Mohapathra and Manuel Mohapatra and 12 new Christian converts for converting to Christianity without official intimation to district magistrate. Subsequently, the Christians were arrested under Orissa Freedom of Religious Act, 1967. The act penalises any person who converts without intimation to the local authorities.

The Christians were produced in a court and they were released on bail the same day.

An Appeal to write to Authorities

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh Uttarakhand and Orissa appealing to them to safe guard the rights of the minority communities and to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.

Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan

Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh

(O) Tel: (755) 2551581 ; 2551433
(O) Fax: (755) 2551781 ; 2540501

Email: [email protected]

Shri Navin Patnaik
Chief Minister of Orissa  

Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Gate, P.O. Bhubaneswar
Distt. Khurda, Pin - 751 001 (Orissa)
Email: [email protected]

(O) Tel: (0674) 2531100 ; 2535100 ; 2531500
(O) Fax: (0674) 2400100 ; 2531500
(R) Tel: (0674) 2591099 ; 2590299
(R) Fax: (0674) 2590833

Kumari Mayawati
Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh

(O) Tel: (522) 2239296
(O) Fax: (522) 2239234
(R) Tel: (522) 221122
(R) Fax: (522) 220550

Shri B. S. Yediyurappa
Chief Minister of Karnataka

(O) Tel: +91 080 22253414 ; 22253424
(O) Fax: +91 080 22281021 ; 22253660
E-mail: [email protected]

Shri Hans Raj Bhardwaj   
Governor of Karnataka
Raj Bhavan Road,
Bangalore - 560 001

Tel: + 91 080 22254102 ; 22253555
Fax: +91 080 22258150

Email: [email protected]

Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal   

Chief Minister of Uttrakhand
Chief Minister Niwas, Circuit House,
Old Annexe, Cantt. Road,
Dehradun - 248001
(O) Tel: (0135) 2712636 ; 2665090
(O) Fax: (0135) 2665722
(R) Tel: (0135) 2531533 ; 2755101
Email: [email protected]

Issued By:
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