Over the last two weeks, two groups of Christians handing out religious literature were attacked and beaten by Hindu extremists near the city of Bangalore in India’s Karnataka state. On both occasions, the Hindu extremists claimed the Christians were engaged in forced conversions as a justification for their brutal assaults. Attacks on Christians, especially those engaged in any type of evangelism, is becoming more and more common in India. Often, claims of forced conversions are used to justify attacks and often also lead to false criminal prosecutions.
05/19/2017 India (Asia News) – Pentecostal Christians were attacked by “saffron” extremists (Hindu nationalists) for alleged forced conversions in Karnataka, Asia News has learned from Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). George reports the last two episodes of violence against the Christian minority in the suburbs of Bangalore (the state capital), where carried out by Hindutva followers who threaten and harass minority groups.
“The attacks on innocent Pentecostal Christians by the saffron extremists shows a dangerous increase in intolerance against the Christian faith, even in public places,” George told Asia News.
The most recent violence occurred in Ramamurthy Nagar against a group of Pentecostals led by Pastor Gibi who was distributing gospel leaflets. They were attacked by some radicals on charges of forced conversions.
Earlier on May 13, another group of Protestant Christians was assaulted at Lingarajapuram, again on the outskirts of Bangalore. George reported that, “Christians were led by Pastor Manohar and were distributing religious pamphlets in a completely free way, leaving free choice to passers-by whether or not to accept the material with extracts from the Gospel.”
“No one was forced to take the texts,” George added. “[The] Pentecostals offered them freely, divulging the Good News.”