Monday, September 19, 2011

India Briefs: Recent Incidents of Persecution

By Mahruaii Sailo
Chhattisgarh, India, September 19 (Compass Direct News) – On Aug. 27 in Jashpur, police arrested eight Christians after Hindu extremists filed a police complaint against them of forceful conversion. A source reported that Nevanti Bhagat, a widow, invited pastor Jaikant Badiak from Jhardkhand and other local pastors and Christians to her house for supper and a prayer meeting. At about 9 p.m., when the Christians were about to leave, the extremists suddenly stormed the house, along with media representatives, and forcibly took Pastor Badiak and seven Christians to the police station. Officers registered a case against the Christians based on the extremists’ complaint for criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and forcible conversion. Of the Christians, six men went to Jashpur jail, and two women to Raigarh jail. The men were released on bail on Aug. 30, and the two women the next day. Two local dailies published stories on the incident.
Karnataka – Police on Aug. 21 arrested a pastor after Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal beat him in Mudhol, Bagalkot. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that pastor Sangappa Hosamani Shadrak was conducting a prayer meeting when about 20 Bajrang Dal (Youth Wing of the World Hindu Council) stormed the gathering and beat the pastor and desecrated the bread and wine used for Holy Communion. The extremists punched the pastor on his face several times – resulting in the loss of his front teeth – dragged him out to the street, tied him to a tree and called police. Officers from Lokapura, including one identified only as Inspector Choudhary, arrived and took Pastor Shadrak and other Christians to the police station for questioning. The pastor was charged with injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class under various parts of Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code. The pastor was sent to Jamkotai jail and was released on bail the next day after area Christian leaders intervened, reported the GCIC.
Andhra Pradesh – On Aug. 16 in Amistapur, Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh attacked pastor Vandala John and accused him of forceful conversion. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that at about 9 a.m. the extremists vandalized a Christian hostel for girls and accused the warden, identified only as Pastor Sudhakar, of trying to convert the residents to Christianity. The extremists destroyed all Christian literature, according to the AICC. As Pastor John arrived at the hostel premises to help the Christians, the extremists beat him up and accused him of forceful conversion.
Karnataka – Hindu extremists attacked church members in Narshipura, Hassan on Aug. 15 at a national Independence Day celebration and broke the arm of one of the Christians. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that the extremists threatened to murder a church leader identified only as Pastor Annaya and other church members for their faith in Christ. The AICC reported the pastor as saying, “This is just the beginning of a series of violence against our church,” as the Christians had been threatened by anti-Christian elements for more than a week. Pastor Annaya said he fears for his life and those of other Christians as the extremists have repeatedly threatened to kill them. A police complaint has been filed against the attackers.
Andhra Pradesh – Hindu extremists on Aug. 14 attacked a prayer meeting and injured three Christian converts in Basavanagudi, Narasipura, Arasikere, Hassan district. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the mob, led by area Hindu extremists leaders identified only as Venkatesh and Annappa, attacked the Christians with clubs and sticks after spreading false rumors that they were involved in forceful conversions. Christians identified only as Raju, Chandru and Venkatamma were injured, with Raju receiving hospital treatment for a serious hand wound. Both parties filed police complaints at Halebeedu police station. In response to the complaints, area police Inspector B. K. Manjaiah, accompanied by the local block development officer on a visit to the site, and officials held a peace committee meeting to try to resolve the differences. The GCIC also reported that officials assured Christians that expenses incurred for the treatment of Raju and others would be reimbursed, and that they may also continue with their prayers inside their own houses.
Andhra Pradesh – Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal on Aug. 12 forced 150 Dalit Christians to “reconvert” to Hinduism in Perampeta, West Godavari district. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the Christians were taken in the early morning to Ramalayam Temple in Perampeta village and were forced to recite mantras. After the intervention of GCIC, the area deputy inspector general promised to send police officers to investigate. At press time the area Christians were living in fear, as one who was distributing Bibles in Jangareddygudem was later beaten and harassed, reported the GCIC.                           
Andhra Pradesh – A pastor was severely beaten and pushed off a running train on Aug. 10 by a group of Hindus on a pilgrimage in Adilabad district after he tried to share his faith with them. Returning from Warrangal after visiting a student in a seminary, Pastor Swamidas Jula boarded a train in Kazipet at around 1:30 pm to return to Manchiyal, the All India Christian Council (AICC) reported. On seeing some people returning from a Hindu pilgrimage, he began distributing some tracts and later began to proclaim Christ to them. Taunting him, a group of pilgrims beat the pastor and prevented him from getting off the train at his designated stop, according to the AICC. The extremists continued to verbally and physically abuse the pastor, robbed him of 3,000 rupees (US$60) and his cell phone, and then pushed him off the train. The pastor was admitted to a hospital for five days for treatment of fractures on both his arms, injuries to his head and back and the loss of a tooth, AICC reported. He identified the group as speaking in the Oriya language, and area Christian leaders assisted him in filing a case against the assailants.
Copyright 2011 Compass Direct News

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