Evangelical Fellowship of India News Persecution Watch, April 29, 2011

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Christians Assaulted in Kerala

Hindu extremists on 20 April beat up three Christians and destroyed gospel literature in Mudakolly, Sultanbathery in Kerala.

According to our correspondent, the extremists suddenly appeared and started assaulting an evangelist identified only as Joseph and two other believers from EL Shadai Ministry as they were distributing New Testament and gospel tracts to people. The extremists verbally abused the Christians, beat them, tore their clothes and destroyed some Christian literature. The Christians did not sustain serious injuries.

Three Good Friday Meetings attacked in Two Districts of Karnataka

Davengere - Police forced Pastor Umesh Nayak to stop leading a worship service after Hindu extremists forcefully entered the Good Friday worship meeting conducted by him and accused him of forceful conversion and tore Bibles.

Our correspondent reported that about 15 Hindu extremists at about 11 a.m., stormed the Calvary Bethel Church, snatched Bibles from the congregation and tore them up. The extremists chased away most of the congregation except for the pastor and six other church members, who remained locked inside the building.

After the intervention of local Christian leaders, the police released the Christians and then took them to the Malai Bennur police station.

Police released the Christians at about 4:30 p.m. after Pastor Nayak signed a statement to refrain from leading worship services in the village.

Bagalkot - Hindu extremists attacked a Good Friday worship meeting (April 22) led by a physically challenged pastor and ordered the congregation to convert to Hinduism in the Bilagi Taluk of Bagalkot district.

Our correspondent reported that about 50 armed Hindu extremists barged into the Good Friday service and tried to forcefully convert Pastor Gurappa Pawar, who is physically handicapped, and Ashok Motilal to Hinduism and applied kumkum (a red powder applied to the forehead as a symbol of piety towards Hindu gods) on their foreheads and offered the pastors to give Rs 10,000(Rupees ten thousand only) if they convert to Hinduism.

The Christians boldly told the extremists that they believe only in Jesus Christ and that they will not convert to Hinduism .Then the attackers beat the Christians, tore bibles and hymn books. Pastor Gurappa Pawar sustained injuries and was admitted in the government hospital. The extremists also filed a police complaint against the pastors of forceful conversion. However, the police intervened and brought the situation under control.

Five Christians Ostracized in Orissa

On 13 April in Bodimunda, Sundergarh, Orissa, Hindu extremists imposed a socio- economic boycott on Christians and held one Christian's family captive for helping some Christian neighbors in rebuilding their houses which were burned in the 2008 anti-Christians violence.

Our correspondent reported that Hindu extremists laid siege to Keshav Digal's house, held his family including four women captive for one night and imposed a socio- economic boycott on the local Christians.

The extremists imposed a fine on shopkeepers who sell wares to Digal and some other Christians. Subsequently, all truck owners refuse to ferry goods for the Christians even for a higher price for fear of Hindu extremists as they already damaged one truck hired by Digal.

Speaking on the incident, Mrs Tehmina Arora, Chairperson, Evangelical Fellowship of India Religious Liberty Commission said, "This incident is another glaring example of the hostility against the Christian minority community in Orissa." The relief and rehabilitation work has been hampered by fundamentalist groups, preventing the return of normalcy though three years have passed since the violence first broke out in the region, she added.

At least 97 Christian families, whose houses were damaged during the violence, are trying to rebuild their houses after the state government released the first installment of money for repairs.

Naveen Nayak, a local Christian leader reported that that no four wheelers are allowed to ferry them even to the hospital.

"When I brought housing materials in a hired tractor, the vehicle was damaged. Police filed a case only when the SP was informed about it," Joseph Digal, another resident of the village, said.

Please pray for the Christians in Orissa and that the relief and rehabilitation work will be able to go smoothly.

Church Torched in Tamil Nadu

Under cover of darkness, Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) on April 17 torched Grace Good News Vision Church (GGNVC) after threatening the pastor with harm during an earlier Sunday morning service if the congregation persisted in worship.

Our correspondent reported that the extremists in Chinnanandanam village, Kanyakumari district, had been harassing a GGNVC pastor identified only as Muthuswamy, alleging forcible conversion. On March 24, officials from the Suchendran police station had forced Muthuswamy to give a written statement that he would stop church services, and on March 27, RSS extremists had destroyed the church compound's gate and wall.

On the morning of April 17 the Hindu extremists stormed the church service, stopped worship and threatened Muthuswamy and the congregation with harm if they continued meeting – and hinted that they would stir up anti-Christian carnage like that of Orissa state in 2008. At around 8:30 p.m. that night, they burned down the church building. At press time, no arrests had been made.

Six Christians Arrested in Maharashtra

Police arrested six persons from Vasai and Palghar areas on 21 April based on a complaint lodged by Hindu extremist Santosh Laxman of Deokop where he stated that a group of persons repeatedly came to their village and gave sermons to tribals and preached, following which many of them had changed their religion.

Six Christians Vincent Benedict, Alfansoi Davre, Cyger J D'Souza, SantiaManvel D'Souza, Solomon Shinde and Hari Rama were held in the police station on the eve of Good Friday, reported our correspondent.

Abraham Mathai, vice-chairman of the Maharashtra state minorities commission, said, "Ever since a newspaper carried a report on mass conversions, tribals are being assaulted." The Christians were arrested under Sections 295 A and 34 of the Indian Penal Code for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention respectively. The Christians were released on bail the next day.

One of the Christian tribals was reported as saying, "I have not stepped out of my house since the attack on Maundy Thursday. We are living in fear."

Please pray for strength for all the tribal Christians in the area, that they will be firm in their faith amid the persecution.

An Appeal to write to Authorities

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Orissa, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala 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 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

Shri M. Karunanidhi
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
Email: [email protected]

(O) Tel: +91 44 25672345
(O) Fax: +91 44 25671441

Chief Minister of Maharashtra

Shri Ashok Chavan
'Varsha' Malbar Hill, Bhausaheb Hiray Marg,
Malabar Hill, Mumbai - 400 006.
E-mail: [email protected]

(O) Tel: (022) 22025151 ; 22025222
(O) Fax: (022) 23633272;
(R) Tel: (022) 23633051 ; 23634950

Shri V S Achutanandan
Chief Minister of Kerala
Cliff House, Nanthancode, Thiruvananthapuram
Email: [email protected]

(O) Tel: (0471) 2333812 ; 2332148
(O) Fax: (0471) 2333489
(R) Tel: (0471) 2314853 ; 2318406

Shri B. S. Yediyurappa
Chief Minister of Karnataka

(O) Tel: +91 080 22253414 ; 22253424
(O) Fax: +91 080 22281021 ; 22253660
[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