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(Compass) – A Hindu cleric in the Catholic village of Rajura , Maharashtra state, has insisted that tribal Christians turn their church into a Hindu temple or face violent consequences. “This morning I received news that the situation is extremely serious,” Bishop Edwin Colaço of the Amaravati Diocese said today. “The Christians are living in fear of their lives.” Hindu cleric Sunil Ji Maharaj initially threatened about 40 Catholic families in the village with social ostracism and even death if they did not “reconvert” to Hinduism or leave the village, Asia News reported on February 3. “He urged Hindu villagers to kill the Christian adivasis (tribal people) with ‘swords,’” Colaço said. Mumbai sociologist S.M. Michael attributes such aggression to desperate attempts by fundamentalist Hindus to reclaim political power after the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in last year’s elections.