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Indian Christian Kidnapped In Karnataka State , Official Says

12/22/07 INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Suspected Hindu militants have kidnapped a devoted Indian Christian in a religiously volatile region of the Indian state of Karnataka, the latest incident in an ongoing crackdown on Christians in several parts of the country, a human rights official with close knowledge about the situation told BosNewsLife Saturday, December 22.

Sajan K. George, president of the advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) said 45-year-old Gajanana Poojari was abducted “by four masked men” from his home in the early hours of Friday, December 21, in the Shiroor area, about 73 kilometers (45 miles) outside the town of Udupi.

The men “blindfolded” him, “trussed him up” and “carried him off to a red car parked near by,” George said. “Poojari raised an alarm by shouting, and made a futile attempt to escape, but he was muffled by his abductors and driven away under cover of darkness,” the GCIC official said.

Neighbors heard Gajanana Poojari’s cries and informed his local pastor, Rev. K.A Abraham of the Life&Light Ministries group, but they do not know his whereabouts, George claimed. Police officials are reportedly investigating the incident.

RADICAL GROUPS

George said the abductors are suspected to be members of one of several radical Hindu groups fighting the spread of Christianity in this predominantly Hindu nation. “Gajanan Poojari put his faith in Christ several years ago, but his family and some locals have been against this. He had been brutally beaten” by a suspected Hindu militant about four years ago “for his faith in Jesus Christ,” he added.

The kidnapping came after a crowd of Hindu extremists allegedly threatened Poojari and Pastor Abraham last week. “Gajananna Poojari made an open statement before the police official” who was asked to intervene,” and the hostile crowd saying that even if he is killed or deserted by any one, he would continue to follow Christ,” George said.

Poojari is married with three children. The situation of his family was not immediately clear Saturday, December 22. The kidnapping is no isolated incident, GCIC and other rights groups say.

The GCIC has said it recorded at least 500 attacks against Christians, many of them missionaries, carried out by Hindu militants backed by political parties and groups.