Thursday, February 28, 2013

Kandhamal violence could have been prevented

The communal violence in Odisha's Kandhamal district in 2008 that claimed 38 lives could have been avoided had the state government acted promptly, a Christian leader told a probe commission Saturday.
Kandhamal, about 200km from Bhubaneshwar, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram in Jalespata village on August 23, 2008.
At least 38 people were killed and more than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes in 2008 after their houses were attacked by mobs, who accused Christians for killing Saraswati, although police had blamed the Maoists for the ashram killings.
Disposing before the Justice AS Naidu Commission which is probing into the violence, Odisha Minority Forum (OMF) president Swarupananda Patra said the government also did not take a step to put a stop to the rumors at that time.
"Although the government took care of the people who suffered, it could have prevented it from happening," Patra told IANS citing the points he raised before the commission.
The government did not provide adequate security protection sought by Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.
"It also did not take steps to stop the rumors after the murder of the Saraswati which eventually contributed to the spread of violence," he said.
Patra also accused the chief minister (Naveen Patnaik ) of 'losing the human element' as he did not visit a relief camp in Bhubaneswar that had housed hundreds of riots' victims.
"The chief minister did not visit a relief camp even if it was situated within two kilometers from his residence in Bhubaneswar" Patra said.
More than 150 people including government officials and eyewitnesses have so far deposed before the one-man headed commission that is probing into the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the subsequent communal riots in the state.
The commission is likely to hear about 50 more people. The next hearing is scheduled to be held in Kandhamal district March 6-7-8.
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Pastors arrested in Andhra Pradesh

AP: Pastors arrested
Andhra Pradesh, February 21, 2013: Pas. D. Naveen Kumar and his fellow pastors were arrested at Yadagirigutta and remanded to jail at Bhongiri District of Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh. The pastor and his associate were arrested at scene of the crime on the complaint given by one Srinivas. 

The Pastor was invited to offer prayers by a family on the occasion of  a birthday at Tulasi Garden, which is proposed colony of 100 cottages under construction. These are the daily wage laborers who had migrated from outside. While they were attending the family prayer, some BJP and RSS volunteers reportedly attacked them and dragged them to the police station on false allegations of conversion.  The police at Yadagirigutta framed charges under sections 295 A & 298 of the Indian Penal Code for hurting religious sentiments and blasphemy of other gods
AP: Pastors arrested

According to the sub-inspector, they were not supposed to preach in the temple towns, according to a Government Order Nos. 746 and 747 and hence were arrested. 

Franklin Sudhaker of the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the All India Christian Council took them to the Bhongiri Muncif Court where they were remand till 11 February, 2013. He is also working with Advocate P. Sridher for their bail. Pastors Naveen and Bro. Balraj who were also earlier arrested and remanded to Bhongiri Sub-Jail on 28.1.2013. 

The CSF has a copy of the Remand Report from the police station. A petition was given to Bhongiri Town Dy. Superintendent of Police, M. Srinivasa by a rally of 200 about Christians from the area.

As reported by CSF

Click here for source

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Christian women attacked in AP–AICC Report

From AICC. You can view the original page here.

Hyderabad: The Hindutva activists have attacked the Christian women at Saffilguda in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh on 25th February, 2013.
On 25th February, while the group of women were passing through, Hindutva activist and a political leader Mr. Narsing Goud believed to be from the same place started shouting at the Christian women with abusive words, accusing them destroying the Hindu culture. He kept on using abusive words until more people joined him. When more people joined Mr. Narsing Goud, they advanced toward the women and start beating the women causing wounds and marks on them, the attackers snatched their hand bags and mobile phones and left the place.
The Hindutva activists have misbehaved with women and also talked ill of Christianity and the Holy Bible. Immediately Pastor Purushottam went to Naredmet police station and gave a complaint against them for their nasty behaviour. Police promised to act on the complaint given.
All India Christian Council condemned the attack on the women and enquired from the police and asked police to take stern action on those who attacked on the Christian women.
AICC Fact-Finding team is planning to visit to assess the situation for further course of action. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Joint national fact finding on gender violence in Cuttack, Odisha

26th February 2013

Recommendation to the church for a 10 Point Policy on Gender Violence

The inter denominational and NGOs team which undertook a fact finding visit to Kandhamal, Orissa, between 23 and 26 February 2013 made  a series of suggestions to the Orissa government on the basis of their findings of the acute nature of gender violence in the region. Following are  suggestions made to the Church in India in general, and particularly to groups active in Kandhamal and other tribal areas.

1.    The Church must  adopt a policy of Zero Tolerance on gender violence both in society and within the church.

2.    Church leadership must orient the priests, pastors, women religious, NGOs and laity to be gender sensitive in their word and deed.

3.    Church leadership must respond pro-actively on gender and justice issues to defend the rights and dignity of women and girl children.

4.    Make gender equality in churches visible and witnessing to the liberating gospel of Christ.

5.    Evaluate mission performance for the last 5 years, particularly on gender issues to address them more strategically in the coming years

6.    Empower local congregations on justice and peace from gender perspectives and build legal awareness among church bodies

7.      Promote the philosophy that ‘Positive rebellion is the need of the hour in the context of patriarchal oppression of women and girls.’

8.      Create space for young people to creatively use their talents and skills to counter the culture of gender violence.

9.      Adopt policy of zero tolerance in the church in relation to paedophilia.

10.  Ensure concerted and centralised co-ordination between the churches and the denominations on gender violence to build pressure on the governments to address the issues.




The Government of Orissa needs to take urgent steps to enforce a“Zero Tolerance Regime” against rape cases in the State, specially in vulnerable hinterland districts such as Kandhamal with large populations of marginalized Dalit and Tribal people.

An All India Fact finding team on gender violence which toured Kandhamal and interacted with State and District authorities from 23rd to 26th February 2013 discovered that despite the national focus after the New Delhi rape and murder case, Orissa has not yet assimilated the administrative recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee into the functioning of district police and units of the Women and Child Welfare Department. There is also a feeling that since the anti Christian violence in 2007 and 2008 and the very large number of acquittals in criminal cases, the people seem not to fear the law as much as they should. The fact finding ream consisted of representatives of CBCI Women’s Desk, National council of Churches in India, All India Christian Council, EFI, ADF, and YWCA National Council.

A grass roots survey involving interviews with victim-survivors and families of murdered girls shows a shocking state of affairs typified in the rape of a six year old of K Nuagaon Blockin one case, and 13 to 14 years old girls attacked in Darringbadi. The situation demands that senior officials be held accountable for dereliction of duties by the subordinate police.

None of the rape victims have yet received any of the statutory compensation. It is absurd that the victim has to make an application pleading for compensation. The authorities must give such compensation suomotu, as was done in the case of the Delhi victim.

However, in the case of the murder of the 13 year old girl in Doddomah-Simanbadi village, the police have filed a charge-sheet in the court against two men. A third accused is a juvenile.

Police have not been able to explain the high number of acts of sexual violence against young girls. One senior officer dismisses them as “failed love affairs”. The team expresses disappointment at official statements that they register FIRs because of the pressure of parents “even where no actual rape had taken place.” Many parents insist there has been refusal to register complaints, or long delay at the police station. In some cases, police and village committees have sought to force the victims into compromising with the assailants instead of dealing with the crime under law.

According to data given by District Superintendent of Police J.N.Pankaj, the number of rapes has come down in 2012 to 21 cases from a high of 32 cases in 2011 and 25 cases in 2010.

However, NGO groups have saidthey had recorded at least nine cases from 24th October 2012 till 15th February 2013 and there were many other cases they were probing.

The absence of a forensic science laboratory in the Kandhamal district, the absence of women personnel in many police stations, the fact there is no Special Juvenile Police Unit, and skeletal staff with almost no facilities in the women’s welfare units in the district aggravates the situation,making women more vulnerable.

The fact finding group was also disturbed at the very large number of women in Kandhamal who had been deserted by their husbands. In most cases, the women were from Dalit or Tribal communities, and the men from other castes, specially “outsiders” including many traders doing business in the small towns.

Another area of concern was the situation in the government–run hostels in the district where as many as 10,000 tribal and Dalit girls stay and study inattached schools. The security of these schools and hostels has not got the attention it deserves from the authorities, and there have been cases of girls from hostels being lured and seduced by outsiders.

There is an urgent need for a gender situation survey in Kandhamal district which should cover the girls hostels, the issue of abandoned women and the crisis of human trafficking in Kandhamal girls in particular and Orissa girls in general. Police admit they have identified the vulnerable blocks and villages, but there is no system in place to check the crime. Step need be taken to ensure change in the mindset of all people, specially officials.

In its suggestions, the team has called for urgent steps to sensitise police and officials at all levels on gender violence issues, apart from launching education programmesthrough mass media, TV and extension services. Sex education as a subject in schools, orientation of village committees and gram panchayats need to be taken up immediately. Local hospitals must carry out medical examinations by women doctors whenever a victim comes, instead of making the girl and her parents to go from one place to another.

In prevention of crime, patrolling has to be intensified where large crowds congregate in the urban areas for fetes and fairs and people have to return home in the dark, making young girls specially vulnerable to sexual predators.

Other measures suggested include steps for counseling and rehabilitation of victims of gender violence, specially very young children apart from legal services percolating to the grassroots. The Helpline for women must be activated.

The fact finding team consisted of Dr. John Dayal, Member National Integration Council and Secretary general, All India Christian Council, Advocate Sr. Helen Saldanah [CBCI office for Women] Advocate Sr. Mary Scaria, Advocate Loreign Ovung [ADF_EFI], Sr. Justine, Ms. Lena Chand [YWCA India], Sukant Nayak and Ashish Bhasin [Light Foundation] and Mr. Kasta Dip [India Peace Centre - National Council of Churches in India]

Copies of their suggestions are being forwarded to the State and Central governments and the Commissions for Women and Children.




1. Sexual violence against women in Kandhamal is due to the breakdown of the law and order situation in the district that gives a feeling to the culprits that they can get away with the law easily.

2. Gender violence including child molestation, rape and murder has led to moral breakdown and manifested in incest, adultery and bigamy with desertion coupled with cruelty.

3. Lack of medical examination facilities for the victims impede and delay the process of justice.

4. An imposed culture of silence in which victims are not willing to voice the assault on them is due to threats from the accused and their families and friends.

5. Lack of fast track courts for women, Mahila Thanas (Women Police Station) and women police officers discourage the victims of sexual violence to follow up their cases.

6. Lack of juvenile homes in the district while the juvenile crimes are on the increase is a violation of the human rights of the juvenile criminals.

7. Lack of education and awareness about their rights especially among the dalit and tribal communities lead to their sexual exploitation by Upper Caste people.

8. Absence of payment of compensation, lack of rehabilitation facilities and trauma counselling centres for victims of rape continue to traumatize them

9. Prevalent dowry system and patriarchal mind set of people make them utterly vulnerable to sexual violence.

10. Lack of gender sensitivity among the police officials leads to further humiliation, insults of the victims of rape.

11. Negligence and passive role on the part of the police to accelerate the process of justice by refusing to register the FIRs destroys the confidence of the victims and their families to speak out against the atrocities being committed against them

12. After the communal riots of 2008, the minority communities are being threatened especially targeting their women and children for sexual exploitation.

13. Forcible inter caste marriages happening for acquisition of the tribal property and desertion of the women after acquiring their property seems to be a common phenomenon.


1. Adopt Zero tolerance policy to curb violence against minor girls and women.

2. Justice Verma Commission Report to be implemented with immediate effect.

3. Adequate compensation to be given to the victims.

4. Set up Fast Track courts to try the rape victims.

5. Conduct a survey on Gender violence in Kandhamal and bring out statistics in order to take adequate measures to prevent sexual assault and rape against minor girls and women.

6. Organize awareness programs regarding the rights of the victims and their families.

7. Make medical examination of rape victims mandatory.

8. Filing of FIRs to be made compulsory in every police station and officers who fail to perform their duties should be prosecuted.

9. Establish child care centres/crèche for children of daily labourers and wage earners.

10. Adequate women police officers to be posted in every police station and establish Mahila Thana (Women’s Police Station) in order to protect the integrity and dignity of the victim.

11. Sex education should be given to the children from Class I onwards.

12. Special focus on abandoned and deserted women and set up homes for women in distress.

13. Establish self defence schools for girls and women.

14. Establish and maintain help lines for women and children.

15. Establish trauma counselling centres and rehab centres in every block for the victims

16. Make provision for rehabilitation and employment opportunities including vocational training and education to victims of rape and other forms of gender violence.

17. Juvenile Homes and cells to be set up for rehabilitation and reformation of the juvenile offenders.

18. Review existing security measures of the girl’s hostels run by the government and ensure security for the girls. Establish hostels for working women.

19. Implement and utilise Govt. funds for the benefit of victims of rapes and gender violence.

20. Deploy adequate police force both male and female during major festivals and ensure frequent patrolling in sensitive areas and hamlets

21. Provide financial help to run minority women’s and girls’ hostels.

22. Village Committees to have 50% of women participants and to ensure that the justice process is carried out.

23. Activate all Government Commissions with adequate representation of women.

24. Adequate representations of SC, ST, SCBC communities in State Legislature and all women’s commissions.

Attack on revival meeting sends Christians underground in Chhattisgarh

As police looked on, militants attacked a Christian church in central India earlier this month, causing severe injuries to some and sending the pastor into hiding, according to witnesses.

According to a story by World Watch Monitor, the assault took place during the second day of a revival meeting earlier this month at India Christian Assembly of God Church in the city of Rajnandgaon. That's about 72 kilometers west of Raipur, the capital of the mostly rural, and overwhelmingly Hindu, state of Chhattisgarh.

World Watch Monitor said the revival meeting included a graduation ceremony of 14 students who attended a short Bible training program. About 300 Christians had gathered to witness the ceremony and attend the revival meeting. Attendees came from the neighboring states of Maharashtra, West Bengal, Orissa, and Madhya Pradesh.

"Everything went well on the first day of the meeting until the afternoon of the second day," a witness told World Watch Monitor. The witness asked not to be named in order to avoid possible retribution from the attackers.

World Watch Monitor said at about 3pm, a group of more than 30 young men disrupted the meeting. They began to interrogate the pastor, Thomas Abraham, and other church leaders, who protested the interruption.

The witness said the intruders were from several Hindu nationalist groups, including Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and Dharma Sena.

"They started to manhandle and beat people, tear Bibles, abused the God of Christians and strode over children," World Watch Monitor reported the witness said. More attackers joined in, their faces covered, and armed with sticks and iron rods. Men, women and children were beaten. Church property and vehicles were damaged.

"There was chaos and Christians started to flee for their lives in whichever direction they could," the witness said.

Police were called, but they did not intervene and "played the role of mere spectators," the witness told World Watch Monitor.

Attacks continued until 6pm, the witness said. Some Christians, from Maharashtra and Orissa, suffered injuries behind the ear and to the eye from being struck with iron rods. They were admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment, though later they left the hospital without informing the authorities.

Christian leaders from Rajnandgaon told World Watch Monitor they approached the superintendent of police, who came to the scene of the attack and began an investigation. He was stymied, however, because Abraham, the pastor, had disappeared. Police are watching the church building and are searching for Abraham.

World Watch Monitor said India is 31 on the 2013 World Watch List, a ranking of the 50 countries where being a Christian is most difficult.

Though Christians live openly without challenge in many parts of huge and diverse India, nationalistic Hindutva movements in some regions have attacked Christian communities with regularity, according to Open Doors International, which publishes the list. Open Doors is a worldwide ministry to persecuted Christians.

Click here for source

Monday, February 25, 2013

Christians forced to discontinue journey in order to save lives

February 25, 2013: In a shocking incident 10 Christian travelers were threatened, harassed and intimated to such an extent that they had to abandon travel.

10 Christians were en route from various locations in Chhattisgarh to Betul to attend a Christian seminar. They were aboard the Chhattisgarh express and the last one alighted the train from Dongargarh station.

The Christians were all scattered in different coaches according to their reservations and in one of the coaches identified now as the S2 coach, some RSS people were also travelling.

While speaking as fellow passengers the Christians let the people know the purpose of their visit and destination, unaware that the people they are disclosing this information to are Hindu Fundamentalists. They soon found out though when the RSS cadres began interrogating them as if they had committed a crime.

The RSS activists then called all the other RSS members, also scattered in different coaches, who incidentally were also travelling to Nagpur for a RSS meeting. The Christians were threatened, abused verbally with the choicest of bad words and asked where the rest of the Christians were. They were also manhandled. According to reports the RSS people abused the Christian faith too and made denigrating statements about the faith and beliefs of Christians.

The RSS cadres also made calls from their mobile phones to RSS activists in Wardha and Nagpur (both upcoming stations) and asked them to turn up at those stations to ‘take care’ of the Christians.

As per reports from a local Pastor in Rajnandgaon, 5 Christians escaped, when the train reached Gondia station. As this is being written, 5 Christians including four women are untraceable. It is not known whether the RSS activists have kidnapped them or they too have escaped.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Pastor arrested by Police in Madhya Pradesh

23 February 2013: According to reports received, Pastor Ramesh Pargi from Shalom Mission was arrested by the local police at Sadeda, Madhya Pradesh.

The local police took him to the police station at about 10 pm.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hindu fundamentalists attack Christian birthday party celebration alleging forced conversions in Madhya Pradesh

Around 15 extremists belonging to Hindu fundamentalist groups ambushed a group of pastors who were guests at a private function at Dumartola, Bajag Village, near Dindori, Madhya Pradesh.

Pastor Mannulal Rajdwar (63), Rev. Dinesh Ramteke, Pastor Tirath Patta and Pastor Vimlendra Jhariya were invited for a birthday party at a local Christian’s house at Dumartola. Around 100 people were in attendance.

After a brief prayer service led by Rev. Ramteke from the Assemblies of God Church Jabalpur and party celebrations, the pastors were leaving the host’s house, when around 15 people arrived with weapons and started threatening the pastors with dire consequences alleging that they were converting people to Christianity.

The attackers were accompanied by the local TV news channel crew from Bansal TV which demonstrates that the attack was well thought of and the TV crew was recording each moment of the proceedings.

When the present Christians, especially the ladies confronted the attackers, they did not beat the pastors but kept on abusing them, till the police came.

It turned out that the attackers had already lodged a complaint at the police station before gate crashing the Christian party.

The police took the pastors to the police station, where they were questioned, but were let go when certain agencies intervened.

No FIR was filed against the Christians or by them. But this incident clearly demonstrates how the fundamentalists are emboldened by the local vernacular media (print and audio visual).

Christians targeted in Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh.

Khalwa incident Khandwa Incident

News reports like the above highlight Christian evangelism as though it was a crime. At the same time the newspaper itself acts as an evangelism tool for the majority community (See clips below). All the clips are from the same day. How do we address hatred spread by the so called news media? If the newspaper is merely reporting incidents, then why does the headline sound like an accusation and judgment together? (Pralobhan dekar dharmantaran ki koshish)

Meanwhile attempts to bail the pastors have proved futile. The lower court has rejected their bail application.

 Narmada Darshan  narmada4



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pastors arrested in India after being beaten up

Click here for source

Pastor Mallik Arjun knew something was wrong when he received a call from the mobile phone of his friend and fellow pastor in Gadag District, Karnataka state – but it was a stranger on the other end of the line.

The stranger told him that Pastor Nagesh Naik was being held at a hotel near Korlahalli village and to come and find him. It was a Sunday evening, Feb. 3, after Pastor Arjun's colleague had led a home worship of the Gypsy Mission church in a neighboring village.

"I went with three church members on two motorbikes, and we were looking for such hotel all through the way and could not find one," Pastor Arjun, of the Indian Pentecostal Church, told Morning Star News. "Finally we found a mob swelling up in a temple, and that was where they kept him – and as soon as we reached the temple, they accused us of forceful conversion and started to attack me, Pastor Nagesh and the other three Christians."

At Hanumanthappa temple in Korlahalli village, near Mundargi, the Hindu extremists beat and kicked the Christians, threatened to set them on fire and tried to force them to worship Hindu idols, Pastor Arjun said.

"They told us they will rape our wives and give twin children to us," he said. "I have never heard such foul abuse in my entire life."

Earlier, at about 7 p.m., some 200 Hindu extremists led by Laxman Gaji and another who goes by a single name, Gudadirayya, had stopped Pastor Naik as he made his way home after leading a worship service at a Christian's home in Sugar Factory quarters, near Sharanahalli village, according to attorney Moses Muragavel. They then took him to the temple before calling Pastor Arjun, said Muragavel, of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell.

At one point during the ordeal, Pastor Arjun said, he kneeled down in a corner of the temple and began to pray.

"One extremist gripped me on my back, dragged me up and said, 'You are even praying to Jesus even in a Hindu temple,' and then he tried to force me to worship Hindu idols," he said. "I asked him why he was forcing me to worship idols and told him that nobody can force me, and I have the right to choose the God that I worship."

Pastor Naik added that the Hindu nationalists then threatened to set the Christians afire with kerosene.

"They were shouting to each other to take petrol from our bikes and burn us up," he said, adding that another extremist stopped them, saying, 'Do you want the whole village to go to jail?'"

Pastor Arjun said that the assailants then demanded that they leave Jesus and proclaim, "Praise my motherland, praise Lord Ram and praise Lord Krishna."

"I told them that I will never leave Jesus – that I can say, 'Praise my motherland,' but I will never say Jai Shree Ram or Jai Shree Krishna," Pastor Arjun said. "The extremists became more furious, and they continued to slap, kick and push us, and tore off our clothes."

The extremists also denigrated Pastor Naik for his Lamani ("gypsy") ethnic origin, saying he had converted to Christianity because he came from low caste, said Pastor Francis Xavier, president of Gadag Pastor Association.

Pastor Arjun received treatment at Mundargi Government Hospital for injuries to his right ear, back and nose, as did Pastor Naik for injuries to his head and neck, besides bruises covering his body. The other three church members received minor bruises.

The Hindu nationalists took the Christians to Mundargi Rural Police Station at about 10:30 that night and filed a complaint of forcible conversion. The two pastors were released at about 5 a.m. on Feb. 4 but had to report back to the police station at 10 a.m.

Police charged them with "promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs," and "acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention" under the Indian Penal Code.

The pastors were released on bail on Feb. 7, but they have to report to the police station on the second Sunday of every month until the charges against them are dropped.

Last Sunday (Feb. 10), Police Inspector Sunil A. Savdi and two officers from the Mundargi Police Station went to the Indian Pentecostal Church and questioned members about how long they had attended the church; how they came to know about it; and whether they had been offered money to attend.

All members said that they had come to the church on their own free will.

Indian evangelist and mother jailed in Karnataka

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An Indian evangelist and his mother were jailed in India's southwestern state of Karnataka for their evangelism activities amid a wider crackdown on Christians, before being released on bail, their supporters told BosNewsLife Monday, February 18.

Evangelist Pradeep, 30, and Chowdamma, 60, "are the latest victims of persecution of Christians in Karnataka by the fundamentalist Hindus" who oppose their mission which include "fearlessly in Christ’s teachings," said advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

"We at GCIC were able to bail out our brother Pradeep [and his mother]", GCIC representative Regi Abraham told BosNewsLife.  "They were released February 11," after three days behind bars, he said. The exact amount of the bail was not immediately announced.

Both Christians, who apparently only use one name, are part of the Karnataka Evangelical Ministry of Mysore, a mission group.


Witnesses said troubles began Friday, February 8, when both visited two Christian women, Jyothi and Lakshmi, to pray for them at their hom in Bellahalli village in the state's Mandya District.

While the evangelist and his mother began praying, some 20 Hindu militants of the hardline Nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or 'National Volunteer Organization' reportedly barged into the house.

The militants allegedly intimidated and physically attacked both Pradeep and his mother Chowdamma, accusing them of "forced conversion of Hindus to Christianity."

Christians said both of them were injured in the attack, with Evangelist Pradeep sustaining injuries on his lips as well as a number of bruises on his face.

"The Hindu radicals then forcibly took both the mother and the son by bus to the Pandavpura Police Station and handed them over to the police falsely alleging that the two were fraudulently and forcibly converting Hindus to Christianity by offering them money," GCIC said.


After they were hospitalized, police began criminal proceedings on charges of "forced conversions", sending them to pretrial detention in the Mandya Sub Jail, before GCIC managed to finance their conditional release, Christians said. It was not yet clear when the trial of the accused would start.

Police could not immediately be reached for comment, but Karnataka is among several states where authorities are cracking down on "forced conversions" a word often used for evangelism activities, according to rights activists.

Evangelical Christians have denied wrongdoing, saying the Bible makes clear that faith in Jesus Christ is only based on a free, personal choice, and  that other religions it is impossible to "convert" people by force.

Local officials have been pressured by Hindu militants to crackdown on the spread of Christianity, including among Dalits, considered the 'lowest caste' in India's ancient system of Hinduism.

India, a heavily Hindu nation of over 1 billion people, has seen a rise in attacks against devoted Christians and their churches, including in Karnataka.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Christian arrested in Andhra Pradesh

On 10 February, police arrested Mr. P. Anand in Basara, Adilabad, Andhra Pradesh after Hindu extremists accused him of forceful conversion.

According to reports from EFI, Mr. P. Anand , a Central Government servant, visited some Christian students on their request in Rajiv Gandhi University in Knowledge and Technologies in Basara, Adilabad, Andhra Pradesh for some academic discussion and prayers in one room.

Suddenly, a group of Hindu extremists forcefully entered the room, verbally abused them and accused Anand of forceful conversion and contacted the local police in Basara.

Subsequently, Satish Kumar, Sub Inspector of Police, reached the college and took Anand to the Police Station for verification and thereafter booked a case against him under various Sections of the Indian Penal Code including 153 A for Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.

Mr. P. Anand was released on bail at about 5 pm on 12 February.

Pastors arrested in Karnataka – EFI report

On Feb 3 in Mundargi, Gadag District, police arrested Pastor Mallik Arjun and Pastor Nagesh Naik after the Hindu extremists beat them up.

EFI reported that at about 7: 00 p.m. the extremists stopped Pastor Nagesh Naik on the road as he was returning home after conducting a prayer meeting, verbally abused him and took him to Hanumanthappa temple. Later they called up Pastor Arjun and told him to come to a hotel where they took Pastor Naik.

Pastor Arjun went with three church members and found Pastor Naik in a Hindu temple surrounded by a mob of about 200 extremists.

"They started pushing, slapping and kicking at us as soon as we entered the temple and accused us of forceful conversion." informed pastor Arjun. The extremists also threatened us that they will sexually assault our wives and give us twin children, he added.

The extremists also abused Pastor Naik on his Lamani Caste and told him that he has converted to Christianity because he has come from the lowest caste, reported our correspondent.

Thereafter they took the two pastors to the police station at about 10:30 p.m. and they were kept in custody till 5 a.m the next day.

On the same day, the Christians reported back at the police station at about 10:00 a.m and they were sent to the Central jail later in the evening. The Christians were released on bail on 7 Feb.

"Four Hindu extremists were also arrested under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Atrocity Act 1989 and were sent to the Central jail for abusing Pastor Nagesh Naik on the base of his Lamani Caste" reported Advocate Moses Muragavel from the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell.

Christian workers arrested in Orissa

On 18 January in Dubia village, Baripada district, police arrested two Christians, Bahadur Murmu and Rama Soreng from New Creation Church when they were having a prayer meeting in the house of one Christian.

According to EFI, which reported the incident, the police came with Hindu extremists who accused the Christians of forceful conversion and hurled verbal abused at them.

The police arrested Bahadur Murmu and Rama Soreng under the Odisha Freedom of Religion Act based on the extremists complaint against them of forceful conversion.

Pastor Rajesh Digal, area pastor said "There was a great positive transformation among the convert Christians after they accept Christ and this angered the extremists."

The Christians were sent to Baripada jail and they were released on bail on 20 Jan at 6:30 p.m.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Evangelists arrested by police in Andhra on complaint of RSS and Hindu Vahini members

P. Anand, a Christian based in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh was ambushed by members of the RSS and Hindu Vahini on February 10, 2013. He was later arrested.

Anand who is also a NTPC employee at Ramgundam and a volunteer with Evangelical Union had gone to conduct a Bible study, as usual, with Christian students belonging to the EU. The students had gathered at the IIIT Basar which is in Adilabad District of Andhra Pradesh.

On the complaint of the RSS and Hindu Vahini member Mr. Ravi Pandey, the police arrested Anand and he was charged under three sections of the Indian Penal Code.

He was finally bailed out on February 12, 2013 after much effort.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Christians attacked by mob in Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh

A Christian meeting was attacked by a violent mob comprising of Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena people in Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh on February 8, 2013.

The India Christian Assembly Church of God which is based at Rajnandgaon for the last 20 years was observing a three day revival meeting.

The ministry was also having a graduation ceremony for around 14 students who had completed a six months theological course from the Church institute.

According to reports, around 300 people were in attendance at the time of the attack which was aroubnd 3 pm.

The attackers were carrying weapons and used them to strike the crowds which dispersed as soon as the attack started.

Women and children too were not spared but were beaten up mercilessly. According to reports the attackers kicked the children and stomped on them. They also tore bibles, abused Christian gods and shouted slogans against the Christian community.

The police were called as soon as the attack started but they did nothing and remained mute spectators while the Hindutva organizations wreaked mayhem on the people left for nearly three hours. 

Christians were stranded in bus stations and train stations for hours after the incident, many in injured conditions and needed help.

Some of the injured who had been admitted in the hospital have disappeared from there.