ASIA/INDIA - Hindu extremists attack Christians with the charges of "forced conversions"

Monday, 28 October 2013

Kalva (Agenzia Fides) - An assembly of faithful Christians was attacked yesterday, Sunday 27 October, by Hindu extremists belonging to the Radical Group "Bajrang Dal" in Kalva, Indian state of Maharashtra. As reported to Fides by the Organization "Catholic Secular Forum" (CSF), a group of 35 Hindu militants armed with sticks and iron bars, animated by religious fervor, broke into the hall of the Protestant community "Assembly of God" and began to plunder and hit in an indiscriminate way the faithful present, accusing them of "forced conversions". Four Christians were seriously injured and admitted to hospital. As Fides learns, some faithful denounced the incident to the police, who arrested the five militants.
On 6 October the same prayer hall had been the subject of an attack and Pastor Arul Raj, who was leading the liturgy, was severely beaten and dragged to the police station with false accusation. After the incident, the police had ordered two agents to monitor the celebrations, but the two who were in front of the Church yesterday were not able to stop the fury of the attackers. In a note sent to Fides, Joseph Dias, a lay Catholic, Secretary General of the CSF notes: "This is a clear attempt to polarize society on religious basis, for purely political reasons, in view of the general elections in India (scheduled in 2014, ed.). We ask the Minister of the Interior of Maharashtra, Raosaheb Ramrao Patil, to ensure protection to Churches and Christian prayer halls and punish those who try to trigger a religious conflict". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/10/2013)