More Christmas Events in India Attacked by Radicals
Reports of more attacks on Christmas events in India by ultra-right Hindu radicals continue to come out as the Christian holiday approaches. This string of attacks has some Christians in India wondering how safe this Christmas will be. Last week, ICC reported on two Christmas events in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh being attacked by Hindu radicals. Today, several more attacks in Rajasthan have been reported. The Christmas season is often a season where Christians are more visible in India which may be a contributing factor to the spike in attacks. Will India’s authorities step up and start protecting these Christmas events?
12/21/2016 India (Hindustan Times) – Three attacks on Christian events in the state has stoked fears among the members of the community, raising apprehensions about how safe Christmas will be.
Members of a right-wing Hindu group attacked a Christian function in Sriganganagar on December 18. A similar incident was reported from the district on November 22. Christians were also attacked in Banswara last week.
On December 18, the Church of Jesus organized an event at a marriage hall in Royal Saraswati Garden, but right-wing groups gathered at the spot and began protesting before the function could begin. They were accusing the Christian community of carrying out religious conversation, said Rahul Katakey, Ganganagar SP.
“The owner of the venue locked the gates from outside and fled. He must have faced pressure from the Hindu groups. The situation was tense but there was no violence,” he added.
Following this, the members of the Christian community decided to go ahead and conduct their prayers on the road outside the venue.
Dr Amar Deep Singh, the pastor of the Church of Jesus and organizer of the function, said that several community members were also stopped from attending the program, over accusations of conversions.
“We told the administration that they could record a video of the event as we won’t say anything against any religion,” he added.
However, Pratap Singh Shekhawat, a lawyer who was among the protesters, said that the organizers had not taken permission from the district administration for the event.
“The venue owner too had cancelled their booking. They had taken permission for Christmas celebrations but were celebrating some ‘Masih Utsav’ under which they would carry conversions of poor people to Christianity by promising them economic benefits,” he said.