Friday, December 30, 2016
Friday, August 26, 2016
Christian persecution in India surges in first half of 2016; radical Hindus see threat to culture, identity
Hindu radicals are intensifying their persecution of Christians across India with no end in sight.
In the first half of 2016 alone, the authorities recorded at least 134 incidents of violence against Christians in India compared with 147 incidents in all of 2014 and 177 in 2015, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India's Religious Liberty Commission, citing an independent report.
What's even more alarming, according to the Commission, is that the cases recorded from Jan. 1 to June 30 this year were "just a fraction of the violence on the ground," the Gospel Herald reports.
The persecution is widespread with the cases of violence against Christians reported in 21 of India's 29 states. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 25 cases.
The report attributed the rise in Christian persecution cases to the success achieved by Hindu radical groups in associating local cultural and customs legislation with Hindu religious practices, denouncing everything non-Hindu as a threat to their culture and identity.
In one area, "religious fanatics attacked a church and tried to set a pastor and his pregnant wife on fire after thrashing them," the report states.
"The pastor and his wife managed to escape after they were beaten up and doused with petrol. The attackers destroyed the electronic equipment at the church, besides thrashing the pastor's children and setting ablaze scriptures and furniture."
The frequent crimes committed against Christians by Hindu fanatics include physical violence, arrests on false allegations, stopping church services, attacks on churches, vandalising and threats on churches and pastors. One person was reported to have been murdered because of his faith.
Some of the attacks were brutal. Hindu radicals attacked a pastor in Tamil Nadu during a worship service on Jan. 17, piercing his head with a heavy, sharp object. Fortunately, the pastor survived the attack.
In many of the incidents, the Hindu fanatics accused Christians of conversion by force in violation of the so-called Freedom of Religion Acts, a law that radical Hindu groups often use to falsely implicate Christians.
In one such incident, a Christian named Balu Sastya and his wife Bhuri, who were both blind, were called to pray for a sick person. When they had gathered at the house of the sick person along with 11 companions, a Hindu mob armed with sticks and stones surrounded the house.
They threatened to kill Sastya and his companions. When police arrived, the extremists filed a complaint against him and others, accusing them of attempting to convert gullible villagers by promising them physical healing. The blind couple and their 3-year-old son had to spend two days and three nights in jail before they were released on bail.
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Saturday, July 30, 2016
New Delhi: On June 11, 2015, 31 tribal girls deboarded the Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express (Train No. 12501) at about 7.40 p.m. at the New Delhi Railway Station, tired and disheveled. However, no sooner had they touched down personnel from Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Crime Branch of Delhi Police, Government Railway Police (GRP) and other agencies swooped down upon them and their two women handlers, Korbi and Sandhya, both associated with Sewa Bharati, a social service organization of the RSS. The agencies had been tipped off by Child Line India Foundation, an NGO working for the protection of child rights in India since 1996, alleging that these poor girls, all minors aged between 8 and 14 years, were being trafficked. The girls were to be picked by one Ramanikbhai of Halwad in Gujarat and Bina of Patiala in Punjab, both working for the RSS, and before the authorities could establish a case of trafficking and rescue the girls from their handlers, a mob of about 200 descended on the station. Within hours the girls were handed over to their new handlers, who would take them to their respective towns, after the authorities conveniently found the reason of their movement from Assam valid: education. The event did not make any headlines as the authorities pushed the matter under the carpet.
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Monday, July 25, 2016
Saturday, July 16, 2016
The miscreant targetted Tomlinson Church on the Union Christian College (UCC) campus in Saadepura, a place of worship for Protestant Christians of the Church of South India (CSI), Karnataka Central Diocese.
CCTV images showed a man wearing track pants throwing a bottle filled with petrol and setting the wooden door of the church on fire around 4 am.
In the footage, he is seen anxiously checking for the presence of people in the vicinity.
Saadepura area is a residential hub of Christian community. Anook, who resides on the campus, noticed the fire. He rushed to the spot and extinguished it.
Tumakuru Deputy Commissioner K P Mohanraj, who visited the church, termed the incident as unfortunate and said the administration would ensure safety of all places of worship.
Superintendent of Police Karthik Reddy told Express that the police will nab the accused within 48 hours. Five teams led by police inspectors will investigate the case, he said.
Central Range IGP Seemanth Kumar Singh visited the spot and took stock of the situation.
As the news about the attack spread like wild fire, city MLA Rafeek Ahmed, MP S P Muddahanume Gowda, former minister Sogadu Shivanna and others visited the church.
The incident occurred at a place where residential quarters of all top bureaucrats, including the DC, the SP and the ZP CEO, are located. The community leaders have ruled out the act of a person within the community.
Community members angry
The Tomlinson Church holds elections once in two years to elect 10 members to the Pastorate Committee and the polls were held a year ago, they said. “Once the elections are over we forget our differences and assemble for the masses,” they clarified.
Meanwhile, the incident united all sections of the Christian community, including Protestants, Catholics and other denominations. Headed by CSI area chairman Samuel Pujary, they held a meeting in the evening.
They took a decision to hold a day-long hunger strike at the Town Hall Circle here on Friday. On Monday, they will hold a rally and people from Chikballapur, Dodballapur, Gouribidanur and Bengaluru are expected to attend, sources said.
“Our only demand is to arrest the culprit and give protection to the community,” said Jeevaratna, an elderly person of the community.
The 86-year-old church is said to be one of the rarest ones in the country as its architecture is a mix of Hoysala and Chola traditions, observed John Sureshbabu, another community leader.