October 24 2011
Christians attacked in Maharashtra
Maharashtra police registered a case against three people after they have repeatedly launched an attack against the Christians in Virla , Sirja, Dhule district , Maharashtra.
According to information reaching EFI, alleged Hindu extremist Gupsingh Raya Paurane, Dev Das and Sai Singh have launched a series of attacks against the Christians. The first incident took place on July where the extremists verbally abused the Christians for their faith in Christ, accusing them of having more money than them after they have decided to follow Christ.
Again on Sept 2, the same extremist group barged into the Christian prayer meeting, verbally abused the Christians for their faith in Christ and hit one Christian, Raju Narayan, causing severe injury to his head. A compromise was reached between the two parties after the intervention of the village head with the Christians, subsequently, not filing any complaint against the assailants.
However, on Sept 7, the village head summoned the Christians for a meeting where the Christians were forced to kneel down before the idols and worship them. They were also told in clear terms that they cannot continue to follow Christ.
"The extremists continued to attack us whenever they found opportunities", reported area Christian, Ram Balli. Again on Oct 8, at about 9:30, while the Christians were getting ready to sleep, the extremists stormed on them and started throwing stones at their houses, where one Christian woman, Meena Raju received severe injury on her head. She was admitted in a local hospital the next day.
Later that night, all the Christians in fear left the area and walked all the way to Shirpur police station which is 35 kms away from the village and filed a police complaint against the attackers.
On Oct 10, the enraged extremists, after learning that the Christians filed a police complaint against them went to houses of Balli and other Christians and started verbally abusing them. Gupsingh Paurane threatened the Christians that he will kill all of them and cut them off from the society if they continue to believe in Christ.
Balli ran to the police station for his life and other Christians family members also ran to hide themselves in the field. In the meantime, the extremists destroyed the houses of the Christians, destroying the roots, the doors and the windows.
The EFI submitted a letter of complaint to the the National Commission for Minorities, (NCM) Government of India requesting them to look into the matter. The Vice President of the NCM, Dr. H.T Sangliana requested the Special Inspector General of Police, Maharastra State Police HQs to conduct an enquiry on the complaint immediately.
Subsequently, On Oct 19, Shirpur Police in charge P.R Gulate and his team went to the spot and investigated the matter. A case has been registered against Dev Das, Gupsingh Paurane and Sai Singh under Sections 323, 504,506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The First Information Report (FIR) no. is 389/11.
An Appeal to write to Authorities
As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra 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 Prithviraj Chavan
Chief Minister of Maharashtra
'Varsha' Malbar Hill, Bhausaheb Hiray Marg,
Malabar Hill, Mumbai - 400 006
(O) Tel: (022) 22025151 ; 22025222
(O) Fax: (022) 22029214
(R) Tel: (022) 23633051 ; 23634950
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