Hindu Radicals Burn Down Church and Christian Businesses in Northern India

ICC Note:

A mob of Hindu radicals burned down a church and other Christian-owned businesses after a local Christian was accused of forcefully converting a Hindu woman to Christianity. The controversy started with a funeral for a woman who was married to a Christian. When the deceased was buried according to Christian tradition, Hindu radicals claimed that the Christian husband had forcefully converted his wife to Christianity. A mob then attacked a church, burned Christian-owned businesses, and beat local Christians. Accusations of forced conversion are often used to precipitate attacks on Christians. Across India, Hindu radicals use the accusation of forced conversion to incite violence on Christians, especially Christian leaders. 

01/23/2018 India (Christian Post) – A mob led by apparent Hindu nationalists burned down a church and shops belonging to Christians in India’s northern state of Jammu and Kashmir after the death of a woman, whom the mob believed was forcibly converted to Christianity.

A large group of Hindus resorted to violence last week in the Rajouri district bordering Pakistan after a local man, Rinku Kumar, brought the body of his 25-year-old wife, Seema Devi, for a Christian burial, according to UCAN News.

Devi’s family falsely claimed that their daughter was forced to convert to Christianity by her husband and was murdered by him. According to the British Asian Christian Association, one of Devi’s uncles told a local newspaper that “she could not have willingly quit her Hindu faith.”

But BACA reported that Devi had become a Christian over two years ago, years after her husband converted to Christianity. She became sick just days after their marriage but was healed during a church service, BACA said. Two years later, however, the illness returned and she died on Jan. 15.

When Kumar brought her body from Punjab state to Jammu and Kashmir to be buried, news of the burial spread and incited violence.

Hindu fanatics from extremist group Bajran Dal and a mob of over 300 people sought revenge the next day by smashing Sehal Christ Church and setting it on fire. Christians attending the church for prayer were beaten, with 12 seriously injured. Businesses that were owned by Christians were also damaged.

Moreover, the mob exhumed the body of Devi and burned it, as part of a Hindu ritual, BACA reported.

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