ASIA/INDIA - Report on anti-Christian violence: more than 200 episodes in 2015

Tuesday, 19 January 2016 violence   persecutions  

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - In 2015 over 200 anti-Christian violence occurred. Seven Protestant pastors and one lay person were killed, while the victims of violence as a whole are about 8,000, including women and children.
Numerous churches were devastated. These are the figures released by the Report "India Christian Persecution", published by the "Catholic Secolar Forum" (CSF), an organization of Indian civil society, and was sent to Agenzia Fides. According to the Report, which analyzes anti-Christian violence in India which occurred in 2015, the perpetrators are groups and extremist and fanatical Hindu formations, who promote the ideology of Hindutva, and would like to eliminate non-Hindu believers from India. These groups are hostile to Muslim and Christian religious minorities and spread a campaign of hatred and defamation that then generates concrete acts of violence.
According to the report, the state of Maharashtra is one in which the ideology is most prevalent, while Madhya Pradesh tops the list for the number of anti-Christian violence. Followed by Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, in a list that includes 23 states of the Indian Union.
The Report notes that one of the main accusations regarding Christians is that of forced conversion and with fraudulent means. For this reason, the government of Madhya Pradesh has amended the so-called "anti-conversion law", by tightening up the penalties. Lay Catholic Joseph Dias, head of the CSF, notes that "forced conversion is not in any way the aim of the Christian faith".
However, so-called "conversion ceremonies" have increased, organized by Hindu extremist groups in several Indian states, where Dalit and tribal Christians are reconverted in mass.
Among the supporter groups of violence: the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) consolidated in 2015, which has "tightened its grip on the political system in the country", notes the text, which now has over 15 million activists in over 50 thousand local cells, and also counts on members in the police, the judiciary, the state administration. Finally, we note that even at an institutional level, India does not renew the visa stay in the country to missionaries, men and women religious who work with the poor and marginalized. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 19/01/2016)

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