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ICC Note:

As India continues to deny that it has a Christian persecution problem, a bishop in India’s Andhra Pradesh State was abducted and beaten for hours by unknown assailants last week. The bishop was attacked as he drove home from another district where he celebrated Mass. Attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India have dramatically increased since the rise of the BJP led government. Many attribute this to a atmosphere of impunity enjoyed by radical Hindu nationalists who are often responsible for attacks on minorities. Recently, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom reported that religious freedom in India has significantly deteriorated. Instead of taking action, India has decided to just deny a problem exists. 

5/3/2016 India (Asia News) – The Christian community of Andhra Pradesh is again under attack. This time, one of the local Church leaders has been targeted: Msgr. Gallela Prasad, bishop of the diocese of Cuddapah.  The bishop was attacked by unknown assailants as he returned from Karunagari (in Kadapa district), where he celebrated Mass. The Federation of Churches Telugu (FTC), the apex body of various Christian denominations in the United Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, strongly condemned “the cruel aggression” against the Catholic bishop.

The incident occurred on April 25, but it was made public only yesterday. It was reported by the news site Matters India, quoting the statement of Archbishop Thumma Bala of Hyderabad, chairman of the Christian Federation.

The Archbishop said that Msgr. Prasad was attacked while he was in the car, returning from Kadapa, about 425 km south of Hyderabad (the capital of Telangana). The car carrying the bishop was stopped by unknown persons, who blindfolded the religious and his driver and then locked them in an unfamiliar place. Here they were beaten for hours throughout the night.

Msgr. Bala said: “It’s amazing that such violent atrocities have been perpetrated against a senior member of the minority community.” The President of the FTC has condemned “the merciless attack against a person who has devoted his whole life to God and to the service of the needy and the marginalized.” The archbishop then asked the police and the authorities to register the case and arrest those responsible for “this heinous crime, in order to ensure justice and security for minorities and protect the lives of the leaders of religious communities.”

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