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Widespread Attacks Against India Christians Amid Tougher Laws

By BosNewsLife News Center

8/13/2006 India (BosNewsLife) The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), an influential advocacy group, told BosNewsLife it remains concerned over anti-Christian violence in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh where the parliament has enhanced their anti-conversion legislation to require religious converts to give one month notification in advance of conversion.

Apparently encouraged by political opposition to Christian mission activities, over 50 “masked radicals armed with clubs and bamboo sticks” attacked the Christian Home of Hope orphanage in the state’s Ballod region in Denteware District and “mercilessly beat 35-year-old Eva Suresh”, one of the staff members, said GCIC.

Suresh, who is still recovering from the injuries, also received death threats, while unspecified threats were also made against at least 20 children, the group added.

Hindu groups have accused Christian mission groups, including those running orphans, of carrying out “forced conversions,” but missionaries have denied the charges.

Besides Chhattisgarh, the Madhya Pradesh State Government passed an identical amendment to their anti-conversion law the previous week, adding to pressure on the Christian minority, human rights watchers say. In other states, Christians have also been persecuted for expressing their faith in public, Indian Christians say.

Albert Lael, organizing secretary of the advocacy group All India Christian Council, told Compass Direct News agency that police led a team of four women from the Good Shepherd Community Church in Erode district of Tamil Nadu to reach a compromise agreement with the person who had accused them of forced conversion.

The women had shown a Christian film to about 150 people without incident. Under the agreement, the women are not to preach Christ to anyone who objects or expresses unwillingness to listen.

Manjula had been living alone for the last 15 as her husband, a pastor, reportedly was forced to flee from the village for fear of the radicals and the police. The attackers in the presence of police allegedly damaged the house of Manjula and threatened that she and the children “will be burnt alive” if they fail to leave the village within four days, GCIC added.

Widows testifying this month at the first one-day Prayer and Fellowship meeting of Persecuted Christians in Bangalore suggested taking these threats serious. The eight widows present were honored by the organizers with crowns, “symbolizing the crown of honor that their husbands had received from the Lord according to the Bible (Rev. 6) for their martyrdom,” GCIC told BosNewsLife.

“This is an attempt to recognize and honor the sufferings of Christians who live in remote locations, facing intense and prolonged persecution for their faith. It is also to challenge Christians in the rest of the country with their stories,” said GCIC President Sajan George.

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