“The Indian states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in power, close their eyes to the atrocities against Christians” is the comment of Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), two new attacks in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, administered by the ultra-nationalist Hindu party. In both cases, activists of radical groups supported by the BJP attacked and accused the pastors of the Christian communities of forced conversions and proselytism.
The first incident dates back to September 5th, in the village of Sagar (Shimoga, Karnataka). The Rev. Damodara, 42, of the Parishudda Prarthanalaya Pentecostal Church, led a prayer service. Suddenly, 15 Hindu radicals led by a certain Omkara entered, attacking the pastor and the faithful who are present there. The activists then called the police to report Taligoppa Christians of forced conversions. Arriving on the scene, before shutting it down the agents beat the Rev. Damodara and those present.
Informed of the attack, the GCIC contacted a Sitaram police inspector, explaining what had happened. The official then ordered the pastor transferred to Sagar police station, for an impartial interrogation. At dawn, the priest was released without charges. Police said the man signed a document, in which he claims not to be involved in forced conversions. Even the attackers had to sign a declaration stating that they would not interfere with the Christian prayer services.
The second incident took place on September 7 in Birmawal villages (Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh). The victim was Rev. John Pargy, 26, of the India Gospel Church. The pastor was distributing pamphlets on Christianity at the bus station, when 25 Hindu radicals of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bajrang Dal stopped him. Instead of beating him, the activists dragged him to the local police station: the told police that the pastor was publicly criticizing Hinduism and forced them to drink cow’s blood (an animal sacred to Hindus, and therefore untouchable , ed.) The police held him in prison for three days, then released him.
“India – said Sajan George – is a secular country. This means that it protects all religions equally, and does not raise any belief to the level of state religion. Yet, over 60 years since independence and the proclamation of our Constitution some minority communities, such as Christians, are experiencing growing intolerance, aggression and severe discrimination. ” AsiaNews