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India Official Meets UN and US Leaders After Militants Rape Christians

(BosNewsLife) 6/5/2006– The leader of an influential Christian rights groups in India said Monday, June 5, he would meet officials from the United Nations and the US State Department this week to discuss “the growing persecution of Christians in India,” after a church was attacked and Christian women were raped by Hindu militants fighting the spread of Christianity in this mainly Hindu-nation.

“I will travel to New York to meet United Nations human rights officials and representatives of the US State Department, ” said Sajan George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) in an telephone interview with BosNewsLife from London .

His talks come shortly after GCIC investigators established Monday, June 5, that two Christian women were gang raped and several others harassed by Hindu militants in a village in the Khargone area, near Indore , the commercial capital of the Malwa region in the Central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

George identified the victims of the May 29 attack as Kashi Ram, 25, Gudia Bhai, 22, Gokhia, 27, Rekha Bhai, 24, and Sr. Bhai, 34. George said that activists of the radical Sang Parivar group “paraded the women naked, and attempted to rape them.” Two of them were raped in nearby bushes, he said, apparently for refusing to abandon their faith in Christ.

STRIPPED NAKED

“The eye witnesses of the incident informed GCIC that the women were stripped and molested before they were paraded in the village fully naked. The poor villagers were frightened and no one dared to stop this inhuman act,” George said.

“The perpetrators also denigrated Jesus Christ before they were chased by the husbands of the women,” he added. George said the GCIC is also worried about the whereabouts of pastor Pastor Jagdish who was arrested after leading a prayer meeting Sunday, June 4, in Madhya Pradesh. The prayer meeting in a house in Ujiain region was broken up by Hindu militants, George claimed.

“Suddenly the radicals forced into the hall and threw the Bibles away and started abusing the men and women. They dragged the Christian believers to a nearby Hindu temple and forced them to abandon Christian faith,” he said.

PASTOR ARRESTED

“Meanwhile police came along with a women who had complained that Pastor Jagadish and other members were persuading her to join the Christian congregation.” George said the woman “was lying” but police detained the pastor under the Madhya Pradesh anti conversion law which forbids conversions “by the use of force or by allurement or by fraudulent means.”

George said the law has been misused by the government and militants to attack Christians. Those who attacked Christian women in a village last week even “have filed cases against the victims accusing of conversion to insulate them from any future action by government agencies,” he added. “This ploy is successfully carried out in [the state] with active [support] of the police and…government machinery to carry out dreaded acts of violence.”

TALKS FOCUSED

He said his talks with the UN and the US will focus on the “growing persecution” of Christians in India . “The silence of the state and central government is encouraging to carry out heinous and inhuman attacks against Christians. We have to use all avenues to improve the situation of Christians and pressure the authorities,” he added.

The GCIC has also urged several organizations, including India ‘s National Commission for Women, “to wake up and act fast to restore human dignity to Christian.”

Hopegivers International (HI), one of the largest evangelical mission groups in India , agrees. HI told BosNewsLife in a ‘prayer alert’ distributed electronically it was concerned over “innocent Hopegivers staff and friends still in prison or under investigation in Rajasthan,” another Indian state known for controversial anti-conversion legislation.

It said that on Tuesday, June 6, one of its staff members will “will be granted bail or release.” Christians comprise roughly 2 percent of India ’s predominantly Hindu population of over 1 billion people. “Christians in India feel orphaned, ignored, and penalized for being

law abiding citizens of India ,” George said.