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AsiaNews (02/06/06) – Madhya Pradesh appears to be at the centre of an anti-Christian campaign started by Hindu fundamentalists. In less than 10 days the Christian community in this central northern region witnessed five separate attacks. The latest in this series of aggressions took place yesterday evening in Pardeshipura, near the large commercial centre of Indore . Activists from the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), the armed faction of the fundamentalist BJP party, beat two young Christians who were distributing religious reading material. Speaking exclusively to AsiaNews, Raju Sambal, who witnessed the incident, said: “These youths were quietly distributing the pamphlets when some people shouted at them from a distance with threats of beating them up and also launched an anti-Christian tirade.” The frightened youths fled to the Church for protection but their aggressors followed them and wounded them. Police have registered a case and are probing the matter; spokesperson for the Indian bishops Conference Fr. Babu Joseph is requesting that “the authorities to take serious note of this attack, so that the security of the minority Christian community is assured”.

The region, however, has firmly been in the fundamentalists sights since last January. On the night bridging January 30th and 31st four attacks were carried out. The first was in Betul, where Hindu militants desecrated and then attempted to set to light a Pentecostal Church .

The second episode occurred in Banapura, in the district of Hoshangabad. Unidentified men broke into the local Christian Church belonging to Friend’s Church, setting fire to the main door. The police, whose headquarters lie directly in front of the Church, responded immediately, but the aggressors escaped.

The third episode also targeted Friend’s Church, but this time its building in Itarsi. The intervention of the alarm avoided any serious damage.

Lastly local sources tell that in the district of Mandla an unidentified group of people tried to set fire to a church, but that the police arrived in time to stop them.