ASIA/INDIA - Sixteen Christian families, expelled for religious reasons, return to their homes thanks to a court order

Monday, 7 December 2020 human rights   religious minorities   hinduism   christianity  

Raipur (Agenzia Fides) - A total of 16 Christian families, who were forced to leave their homes last September on grounds of religious discrimination, have returned to their homes in Kondagaon district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh. Their homes were rebuilt under police supervision, following the court order of the Supreme Court. This was reported to Agenzia Fides by A. C. Michael, Christian leader and social worker, who followed the case closely. Several Christian organizations have committed themselves to the issue, including the Alliance Defending Freedom India (ADF India) and other civil society groups. The presence of well-known human rights activist Medha Patkar, who led an investigation team, was largely responsible for the happy outcome.
"Christians had been expelled in violation of their fundamental rights of citizenship, only for reasons of religious discrimination. This court measure is important because it restores justice and shows that the rule of law is respected in India", says A.C. Michael, who expresses his satisfaction with the happy outcome.
According to the reconstruction of the facts, reported to Agenzia Fides, last September around 1500 Hindu residents of local villages broke into the homes of Christian families, destroyed everything and drove the Christians out because of their faith. Local government and police officials, who had been alerted to prevent violence did not intervene with the necessary timeliness and decision to avoid the exodus. Hindu villagers said Christian families should have converted to Hinduism. "Before the accident, Christians had been threatened and harassed for months and feared for their lives and property", explained Arun Pannalal, President of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum. After the eviction, human rights activists took legal action: now the Court has recognized the rights of Christians.
Christians are a minority in Chhattisgarh State: they are less than 2% out of about 33 million people, 93% Hindus. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 7/12/2020)