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6/28/07 Karnataka (Compass Direct News) – Hindu extremists assaulted Silvester Pereira, a Roman Catholic priest at Carmel Church at Katkeri, in the village of Koteshwara, Kundapura, in a hospital on June 25, the Deccan Herald News Service (DHNS) reported. Fr. Pereira had gone to Surgeon Hospital, along with four companions, for a medical check-up. As he waited for a doctor, four local Hindu extremists confronted the priest and his companions, accusing them of forcibly converting people to Christianity, according to the website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. Local sources told Compass the accusers were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. They pulled Fr. Pereira down the stairs, pushed him to the floor and struck him with kicks and blows. One of his companions tried to intervene and lost teeth in the altercation. The extremists took them to a local police station and accused them of forcible conversion. Initially police refused to allow Fr. Pereira to file a complaint, but with the support of another priest he was able to file a First Information Report against the assailants. At press time, police had arrested one person.

Andhra Pradesh – Unidentified Hindu extremists on June 21 dragged a Christian worker to a temple in Narayankede area in Andhra Pradesh state’s Medak district and told him to bow down before an idol. When Pastor John Peter of Bible Centered Ministries refused, they tore his clothes, shaved his head and beat him till he fell unconscious, Dr. Sam Paul of the All India Christian Council told Compass. The assailants took the pastor, whom unidentified people had earlier warned against preaching the gospel, from the Pochamma temple, paraded him around the area, beat him and left him lying unconscious in a forest area near the Manjeera River. Around 10 p.m., the pastor regained consciousness and walked 25 kilometers (16 miles) to Papannapet village in Narayankede; from there he caught a cab home in Pathuru village. Peter later refused to press charges against the extremists, saying he had forgiven them.

Karnataka – Hindu extremists of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike attacked pastor Paul Samuel in Sirsi, Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka state on June 10, Samuel told a meeting of Christian leaders organized by the All-India Christian Council and the Joint Action Forum of Christians in Bangalore on June 21. According to The Hindu newspaper, Samuel told the meeting, “No one, not the local member of the Legislative Assembly, the police or the media are on our side.” Dr. Sam Paul of the All India Christian Council told Compass the meeting of Christian leaders was held to develop a strategy for networking and staging protest marches and sit-ins. “The police are not responding to the Christian appeal for security as they should,” Samuel said. “Often the police connive with the fundamentalist elements to harass the Christians.”

Kerala – The Kerala unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on June 21 demanded that the state government deport foreign missionaries in Kerala state who are “indulging in widespread religious conversion with the help of foreign aid,” reported the daily DNA. VHP Kerala Organizing Secretary Kummanam Rajasekharan told reporters in Kochi that about 150 missionary workers under tourist and business visas in various parts of the country are converting people in violation of visa regulations. He claimed that five missionary workers from the United States in Kerala for three years had converted about 2,000 people. Rajasekharan said if the government failed to take steps to stop the “illegal functioning” of missionaries, the VHP would organize a “march” to their meetings sites and homes. Dr. Sam Paul of the All India Christian Council (AICC) told Compass, “There is absolutely no record or truth that there are 150 missionaries with tourist visas. There may be 150 tourists, and they may be all Christians, as majority of the tourists may be Christians. If the VHP’s allegation is true, India should close down its multi-million dollar tourist industry.”

Karnataka – Hindu extremists burned 500 copies of a book called The Life History of Jesus Christ that they confiscated from a girls primary school in Siddapur, Karnataka state on June 18, the Vijay Times reported. The mob, drawn from Hindu Jagarana Vedike (HJV, or Hindu Forum for Revival) and the Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that the books were being used to convert schoolchildren to Christianity. They also staged a protest in Sirsi. According to local sources, the Siddapur protest was conducted under the leadership of Member of Legislative Assembly Vivekananda Vaidya, who told reporters, “This matter will be taken to the knowledge of the education minister, and action will be taken by the authorities.” Others present in the protest were BJP town President K.J. Naik and Satish Kodia of the HJV.

Kerala – Eight people known for their Hindu extremist ideology on June 15 killed a 52-year-old Christian social activist, allegedly over his activism against a toddy shop in the Konny area of Kerala state’s Pathanamthitta district. The body of Joy Anthariveth was found in the Kavil area near Thannithodu, where the slain Christian was running a movement against the toddy shop, the Rev. Paul Ciniraj of Kerala-based Salem Voice Ministries (SVM) told Compass. Anthariveth, a member of the SVM’s prayer fellowship, was murdered while returning from a prayer meeting. “Anthariveth was walking on the Kavil bridge on June 15 when the culprits came in their Scorpio car and beat him to death,” Ciniraj quoted the police as saying. “He tried to escape through the narrow path between the Marthoma Church and the Federal Bank but could not. They threw the body from the bridge to the rivulet.” Police told Ciniraj that Anthariveth had received several threats and warnings by toddy shop personnel. On June 20, police arrested five of the accused, while the remaining three were absconding at press time.

Karnataka – Hindu extremists allegedly belonging to the Hindu Jagarana Vedike (HJV) handed over nine Christians to the police on June 10 in Sirsi, Karnataka state, for alleged forcible conversion of Hindus to Christianity, said Dr. Sajan George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians. “The Christians were assembled for Sunday worship when the HJV activists disrupted the prayers and dragged the nine believers to the local police station,” George said. The nine Christians mentioned in the HJV’s complaint are Paul Samuel and his wife Estela, John Alfhans, Zavier Fernandes, Iresh Bhovi, Usha Manohar Naik and others identified only as Pramod, Ganesh, Antoni.