ASIA/INDIA - Hindus who read the Bible threatened by extremists

Friday, 5 January 2018 religious minorities   hinduism   christianity   bible   dialogue   extremism  

Bareilly (Agenzia Fides) - A group of 70 faithful Hindus in Uttar Pradesh, who in the past 4 years gather to read the Bible, have been threatened and targeted by Hindu extremist groups such as Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal. As Agenzia Fides learns, for more than four years the faithful Hindus gather every Sunday in the village of Shahjahanpur, about 80 km from Bareilly, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, at the home of Hindu headmster Matadeen Verma, for a two-hour reading session and say that this reading and sharing helps them deal with their personal problems.
Hindu extremist groups have targeted these people warning them not to embrace Christianity, thinking that these meetings are preparatory to religious conversion. The faithful replied that their families are Hindus and that they do not intend to become Christians, but read the Bible for a cultural reason.
At Christmas once again the militants of VHP and Bajrang Dal discouraged the villagers from reading the Christian texts, imposing them Hindu texts, but they were sent away. "We are not doing anything wrong", says Verma to Fides. "I will continue to organize home gatherings with Bible reading sessions. We do not believe in the ideology of extremists. We read sacred books of Hinduism and Christianity and take the good that exists in both traditions. Reading the Bible does not change our religion. We will remain Hindus", he explains. "God helps us remove the obstacles from our lives, reading a sacred book motivates us to move forward in life", concludes Verma. (SD) (Agenzia Fides, 5/1/2018)