India: Christian Prayer Meeting Attacked, Christians Detained by Police

Sangha Parivarists attack Christian Prayer Meeting at Hunsur, Karnataka

ICC Note:

Yet another attack by Hindu radicals has led to the beating of a Christian pastor and several other believers. To make matters worse, the pastor and several other Christians were then detained and questioned by police as if they might be responsible for inciting a violent attack against their own prayer meeting. This is an all too common an occurrence in several states across India, and sadly the perpetrators of the violence are never arrested or even questioned.

09/27/2012 India (Christian Persecution Update)- Pastor Venkatesh, 33, is in charge of a house church called Parishudda Prarthana Mandir at Kattemalavadi village in Hunsur in Mysore District of Karnataka. He has a congregation of 170 believers and he lives with his wife, Vijayashri, 27, and an 8 year old son, Samuel. He has been actively carrying the message of good news during the last 7 years in Kattemalavadi and other surrounding villages.

On Wednesday, 26-9-2012, Pastor Venkatesh had arranged for a special prayer meeting in the morning scheduled to end with lunch. They were also busy preparing for the lunch when the prayer meeting began at about 11 a.m. Just then, 4 police constables from the Hunsur Rural police station, set up by the local Bajrang Dal activists, came to the spot and stopped the prayer meeting. They also began questioning the pastor whether he has a license to run the church and whether he has taken special permission to conduct the prayer meeting that day.

As the questioning was going on led by two local Bajarang Dal leaders, Varadraj Pillai and Kiran Shetty, 15 activists also swooped down upon them. They came in a number of vehicles – jeeps, vans and two-wheelers. As soon they reached the place, they began abusing and manhandling the pastor and some of the believers. After exchange of some words, the activists attacked the pastor and some believers kicking them and slapping them while the subservient policemen, it is learnt, simply kept on watching the scenario. The activists then also forcibly collected all the bibles and other Christian literature in the church and took them away. By then it was about 12 noon when the policemen took the pastor and a number of believers to the police station for further inquiry which supposed to have lasted till late in the evening.

In the meanwhile, the GCIC got in touch with the concerned Sub Inspector, Mr. Arun, and spoke to him requesting him to be fair in his inquiry since there is every possibility of the GCIC taking it up at the higher levels including the NHRC, for unnecessarily harassing the Christians who are entitled to have their prayer meetings like any other people. Accordingly, we understand, the Sub Inspector went about the whole inquiry in a systematic manner and took down the statements of all the believers – about 20 of them, who stated that there has been no force in converting them to Christianity and that they have accepted Christ of their own accord, and that their lives have undergone a great transformation ever since they accepted Christianity. The women believers openly and fearlessly stated that their husbands don’t drink now and neither do they beat them or their children and they bring home whatever they earn, and they have been living happy lives ever since they accepted Christ.

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