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7/12/07 India (Persecution Update India)

Pastor Swaminathan Devakumar (50) was badly beaten in front of his family members, by members of VHP and other Hindutva radical outfits,accompanied by Andhra Pradesh police personnel who barged into his home in Kanipackam on 5th July 2007. The assailants also proceeded to wreck the house and destroyed the family’s books, including several Bibles. Swaminathan was also charged under IPC 295 and with violating the new Andhra Pradesh GO 747, which bans non-Hindus in 12 temple towns in Andhra Pradesh, including the Sri Varsiddhi Vinayaka swamy Devastanam situated in Kanipackam. This is the first attack and arrest of non-Hindus in implementation of the unconstitutional GO passed by the State Government of Andhra Pradesh.

Pastor Swaminathan has been living in Kanipakam for the past four years. The town is 10 km from Chittoor and is famous for the Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka swamy Temple. Swaminahtan used to conduct tuition classes from his rented house for students in the town. Following the attack, he was treated at CMC Hospital, in Vellore, with complaints of internal injuries and chest pain. He was discharged after three days.

This blatant aggression is an ugly demonstration of how certain elements have taken over the practice and expression of the Hindu faith in India, and act in a manner that essentially denies the practice of Non-Hindu faiths. Thus it is a sign of the times to come in future as totalitatianism threatens to overtake the practioners of Hinduism.

GCIC appeals to the NHRC to intervene and save the life and dignity of Non-Hindus staying in temple towns of Andhra Pradesh.
Members of civil society in Andhra Pradesh have decided to challenge this GO issued by the government, which bans non-Hindus from the vicinity of temple towns in their state.

Senior advocates and retired judges have expressed the opinion that under existing provisions of IPC 153,295,503,505 etc effective action can be taken against hurting the religious feelings of citizens of India, and these sections can come to the aid of Christians and other oppressed minorities in such cases.