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ICC Note:

A pastor in Rajasthan was beaten and two crosses and Kerala were destroyed as attacks on Christians in India continue to escalate in both number and intensity. Across India, attacks on religious minorities and their places of worship have become almost commonplace. According to Open Doors USA, Christians in India have already endured 410 attacks in the first six months of 2017. Many claim the rise in violence comes from the government’s inability or unwillingness to confront radical Hindu nationalists groups operating across the country. Will the violence against Christians and other religious minorities continue to escalate? 

08/22/2017 India (Asia News) – A Pentecostal pastor was brutally beaten in a village in Rajasthan, while two crosses were destroyed at a pilgrimage site in Kerala. These are the latest episodes of violence against the Christians of India, in a crescendo of persecution and discrimination. The two incidents took place in the past few days, while the Church celebrated the Feast of the Assumption.

Speaking to Asia News, Sajan K. George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians, complains of “the growing hostilities, for the minuscule Pentecostal Christians – we have Constitutional rights to freedom of conscience and religion. Regrettably, with the increasing intolerance, it is being perceived that we are excluded from these rights, and treated as second class citizens. ”

The Christian activist reports that Pastor Harjot Sethi, of the Christ Power Ministry Society, was beaten with sticks on August 16, while leading a Gospel retreat in the village of Dabli Rathan. Several dozen people were waiting for the start of the event, when a crowd of Hindu nationalist extremists belonging to the Bajrang Dal group descended and encircled them.

As soon as the pastor began to speak, they beat him with violence and attacked his wife Arvinderjot Sethi. Sajan K George said, “These right wing goons ‘created a law and order situation, and used violence, even on a woman”. The pastor was urgently transported to the hospital, where doctors found numerous internal bleeding, several wounds on his head, and a leg fracture.

On August 18, another episode undermined coexistence among religious communities in India. Two crosses were destroyed at the Kurishumala Pilgrim Center, in the Bonnakad forest near Vithura, in the Thiruvananthapuram District of Kerala.

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