Christians in India’s Madhya Pradesh State Call on Federal Government for Protection

ICC Note:

The Christian community in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have appealed to the federal government for protection following a series of anti-Christian attacks. Reports claim that Christians in Madhya Pradesh were attacked five times in as many days. Christians claim that the attacks are being perpetrated by Hindu radicals and are not receiving protection from the local police. Will the federal government action on these complaints from the Christian community?

5/19/2015 India (UCAN) – Christians in Madhya Pradesh have appealed to the federal government to provide them protection following a spate of attacks on the Christian community by suspected Hindu hardliners.

A three-member delegation met federal Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday requesting his help in ending what they called “continuous anti-Christian attacks” in the state ruled by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Christian leaders, including Anita Benjamin, spokesperson of the Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh (national Christian forum) met Singh after a church and a home for disabled children run by Augustinian nuns were attacked last week.

The state has witnessed attacks on Christians ever since the BJP came to power in the state more than a decade ago, Benjamin said.

The BJP winning federal elections a year ago has further emboldened extremists, she told ucanews.com.

More than 20 attacks and incidents of police filing fake conversion cases against Christians have been recorded in the state this year, according to Christian leaders.

During Sunday’s meeting, the delegation told Singh about an attack on Christians praying in a Church while police looked on.

The alleged attack took place on May 12 at a Presbyterian Church in Indore.

Benjamin said Singh listened to what they had to say and immediately telephoned Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and told him to take action against those involved in the attack, she added.

Eyewitnesses said police stood at the gate while fanatics stormed into the church and beat up Christians, accusing them of conversion activities.

“They kept hitting us, alleging that we were involved in religious conversion and fake healings”, said V Joseph, a Protestant pastor.

Religious conversion is a punishable offence in the state, if done without permission of government officials.

He and two others were later charged with conversion offences, Joseph said.

“Police, even after knowing our innocence registered a case against us,” he said.

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