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India Briefs: Recent Incidents of Persecution

ICC Note

Widespread attacks against Christians have continued in India. The Indian officials, unfortunately, side with the attackers instead of protecting the victims.

07/08/2011 India (CDN)-Pastor Johnny Lazarus, 50, was beaten by Hindu extremists on June 28 at Bollepally village in Bhongir Mandal. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that one extremist, Malla Reddy, accused Pastor Lazarus of performing witchcraft on him. Reddy and his family members verbally abused the pastor and his faith, saying, “You brought a low-caste god among us,” slapped him and threatened to harm him further if he did not leave the area immediately. The pastor reported the attack to police and to the AICC. Police officers summoned both parties on July 1, and the attackers apologized to the pastor, putting into writing that they would not disturb him again. The pastor forgave his assailants.
Karnataka – Police on June 28 arrested two Christians after Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal attacked Pastor M. Sandeep and a man identified only as Isaac as they were returning home from a prayer meeting in Heggere, Hubli. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that at about 11 a.m. the extremists rushed the Christians and began questioning them, accusing them of forceful conversion. They searched their bags for Christian literature, slapped them and verbally abused them. The extremists then took the Christians to the Old Hubli police station, where they were detained for about six hours. Thereafter police filed charges for hurting religious sentiments, violation of private property and unlawful coercion. The Christians appeared before a judge and were later sent to Dharwad Jail.

Karnataka – On June 28 in Shimago, state officials verbally ordered the cancelling of permission for a Christian school to operate after Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh urged authorities to do so. The extremists accused Good Shepherd Community School officials of forceful conversion. The All India Christian Council reported that the school, belonging to Operation Mercy India Foundation, educates people of all faiths. Area Christian leaders were taking steps to resolve the conflict, with villagers supporting S. Prakash, community development officer of the school. Tensions prevailed in Shimoga as people awaited written notice cancelling the school’s permission to operate.

Karnataka – Police arrested four tribal Christians after Hindu extremists accused them of forceful conversion on June 21 in Badragola village, Virajpet. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the Christians – three of whom were identified by their single names of Mani, Agela and Ravi – were detained at the police station for about five hours without food and water. They later appeared before a Virajpet judge, and the Christians were released on bail the same day with the intervention of area Christian leaders. The GCIC reported that the area Hindu extremists were jealous of improvements in the tribal Christians’ lives after they received Christ.
Chhattisgarh – Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal on June 19 disrupted worship and threatened to harm Christians if they continued meeting in Gurur, Durg. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that the extremists led by Narayana Teke stormed into the Sunday worship meeting, took pictures of the congregation and ordered the Christians to leave the building. Pastors Mohan C. Thomas and Anish C.K. went out to meet the furious mob, and the extremists then warned them to leave the area altogether.

Tamil Nadu – On June 12 in Karaikal, Puducherry, Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh threatened a Christian identified only as Pastor Robinson and members of the Church of Jesus. The extremists warned the Christians that they would be harmed if they continued to hold worship services. Pastor Robinson works as a manager in a Christian school and also leads a church of 100, reported the All India Christian Council. About 50 extremists stormed into the Sunday worship meeting and threatened the pastor and others with knives, warning them to cease all Christian activities. Pastor Robinson and local Christians submitted a memorandum to the district collector asking authorities for protection.