ASIA/INDIA - A church burnt down: violence carried out by Hindu fundamentalist in Chhattisgarh

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Kondagaon (Agenzia Fides) - There is no peace for Christians in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, in central India. The state, on the border with the states of Orissa and Madhya Pradesh, is emerging as one of those in which violence of well-known Hindu extremist groups are creating major problems for religious minorities, with continuous attacks against Christians, accusing them of "forced conversions" .
Some days ago a small church was set on fire in the district of Kondagaon in Chhattisgarh. As recalled to Fides Agency by the "Evangelical Fellowship of India", a name which brings together several evangelical Christian communities, a year ago the Christians in the village Chhote Salna had built a chapel, with wood and straw. The building was set on fire on the night of April 2nd, and the local faithful could not do anything to put out the flames. The land for the construction of the church was donated by a local faithful, and the chapel was a place of worship for different families scattered in the district. The day after the fire believers were publicly insulted and threatened by Hindu fundamentalists of the village, belonging to the "Vishwa Hindu Parishad", who accused them of converting people through fraud and seduction. The faithful filed a complaint to the local police. Fides sources recall that on March 13, in the district of Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh, a group of Hindu fundamentalists, along with some police officers, demolished a church, claiming it was built illegally.
One other incident of intimidation took place in the district of Balrampur Ramanujganj, always in Chhattisgarh. At the end of March, as a community of Christian believers had gathered in prayer in the village of Nagra, a crowd incited by Hindu fundamentalists interrupted the meeting by accusing the Christians of promoting "forced conversions through fraudulent means." Even the local police, intervened on the spot, asked the organizers to stop the meeting. As reported to Fides, the Christians, reiterating the desire "of peace and freedom of worship", sent an appeal for the protection of the rights of minorities and churches to the Prime Minister of Chhattisgarh, asking to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 16/04/2013)