Thursday, September 12, 2013

Christian Widows in India Beaten for Refusing to ‘Reconvert’ to Hinduism

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – When Laxmi Sovi, a Christian widow in India’s Chhattisgarh state, heard her door opening one morning last month, she could not have guessed that by the next day she would be hospitalized and her home demolished.

Three Hindu extremists identified only as Veeru, Chaytu and Mangru barged into Sovi’s house in Kakadi Beda village, Kondagoan, at 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 24 and demanded that she and her children convert back to Hinduism, she told Morning Star News. In spite of threats, she declined.

The three men left.

That night at about 11 p.m., the same Hindu nationalists forced their way into her house.

“They asked me why I converted to Christianity and left all the Hindu idols, and they also told me that I should reconvert to Hinduism or else be killed,” Sovi said.

Doddamma's daughter Laxmi was found semi-conscious after the beating. (Morning Star News)

Doddamma’s daughter Laxmi was found semi-conscious after the beating. (Morning Star News)

Sovi, who became a Christian four years ago, refused to renounce Christ. The Hindu extremists began beating her and her two children, threatening to rape her teenage daughter. The children managed to escape and hid in the surrounding jungle, but the men continued to slap, kick and punch Sovi as they insisted she leave Christ.

One of the men struck her on the neck with a club, and she collapsed in pain. Later she also took refuge in the jungle, where she hid for the rest of the night – with a fractured left hand, swelling on her neck and multiple contusions.

The next morning, Sovi returned home with area Christian leaders to find her house demolished. She received treatment at Rabindranath Tagore Hospital in Kondagoan.

“As her house was completely demolished, she is taking shelter at the house of another Christian in the area,” the Rev. A.K. Netam, an area pastor, told Morning Star News.

Mother, Daughter Dragged to Temple

A week before, in the southern state of Karnataka, Hindu extremists dragged another widow, along with her daughter, to a Hindu temple and beat her unconscious when she refused to convert back to Hinduism.

Led by Hindu extremist Chinna Bhovi, the assailants forced their way into the home of a widow who goes by the single name of Doddamma at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 in the Government Ashraya housing area of Chickmagalur, pastor T.S. Surendara of the Rehebothe Prarthana Mandir Church told Morning Star News.

The Hindu nationalists asked them who gave them permission to convert to Christianity and talk about Christianity with their neighbors, Surendara said. They dragged Doddamma and her daughter, Laxmi, to a Hindu temple and tried to force them to convert back into Hinduism, but they refused to renounce Christ.

“The extremists beat, kicked and punched them with their hands for almost an hour and uttered foul abuse at them,” Surendara, their pastor, said.

Doddamma lost consciousness, and her daughter was semi-conscious when neighbors found them lying on a road, reported attorney Moses Muragavel of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell.

Doddamma and Laxmi suffered multiple bruises and swelling; they were hospitalized for three days.

“The extremists also looted Doddamma’s house, stole their safe cupboard, clothes, ration card and all important documents, and further vandalized her house,” Surendara said.

Police have registered a First Information Report against seven suspects under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, but no arrests had been made at press time.

In another incident in Karnataka, Hindu extremists attacked house church pastor Parama Jyothi in Mobanahalli village, in Chitradurga District, on Aug. 11.

“At about 10 a.m., the extremists barged in while we were praying and started to beat me up,” Pastor Jyothi told Morning Star News.

The Hindu extremists dragged him along a road, tearing his clothes until he was half-naked. Pastor Jyothi’s body was covered in bruises, and three front teeth were broken, reported Muragavel of the Karnataka Legal Aid Cell.

Church members took their pastor to a hospital, where he was treated for about a week.

Pastor Jyothi submitted a letter to the Bejikere Police Station requesting protection, as the Hindu extemists had sternly warned him that he should vacate the house and leave the village within a week if he continued to follow Christ.

Credit: Morning Star News

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Man arrested for 'attacking' churches in Bangalore, TN

Bangalore: A man having suspected links with a fundamentalist organisation has been arrested for his alleged role in vandalising and attacking churches in the city and Tamil Nadu between 2008 and 2009.
"A special investigating team on September 3 arrested 33-year-old Sajjan Kumar, a resident of Tamil Nadu, for his involvement in church attacks here," City Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar told reporters here.
Police suspect Kumar owes allegiance to a fundamentalist organisation. "We are investigating it," he added.
Kumar is alleged to have attacked and damaged four churches situated at Yedavanahalli and Huskurgate in city limits, Auradkar said.
Tamil Nadu Police have also filed a case against Kumar for allegedly setting on fire a scooter parked near a hotel where a Christian prayer was held.

"A case was registered in Mathigiri police station limits in Tamil Nadu," he added.

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Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Fresh attacks against Christians in Karnataka

by Nirmala Carvalho

Three new attacks occurred in the Indian state of Karnataka in August alone, all by Hindu extremists.

The latest occurred on 18 August in Chikkamalaguru District when Hindu radicals stormed the home of Ms Doddamma, a member of the Rehebothe Prarthana Mandir Pentecostal Church.

The group of men asked her why she visited Hindu families and who gave her permission to preach Christianity.

Faced with her silence, the men dragged her and her daughter to a nearby Hindu temple, where they ordered some holy men to reconvert them to Hinduism. Faced with their refusal, the Hindus brutally beat the two women, as others destroyed their home.

On 11 August, in Chitadurga District, Rev Paramajyothi, the pastor at an independent Pentecostal Church, was attacked by Hindu ultra-nationalists. Dragged out of his church, he was stripped him and beaten mercilessly under the eyes of his congregation and family. The religious leader suffered several injuries, including three broken teeth.

Once discharged from the hospital, he turned to the police in Bejikere for protection since the fundamentalists had issued threats against him, ordering him to leave the village. Police instead filed a complaint against the attackers, as well as the clergyman.

On 3 August, 50 Hindu extremists violently attacked Somashekarwas, an Evangelical Christian in Bijapur District. Pulling his hair and ripping his clothes, they ordered him to reconvert to Hinduism. They also swore at his wife Kusumabhai and ordered the couple to leave the village if they were not willing to renounce Christianity. Because of their refusal, the attackers reported them to the police in Nedugundhi, accusing them of practicing forced conversions.

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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

North India church destroyed by 1,000-strong mob

Shouting religious slogans, a mob estimated at 1,000 people has destroyed a Christian church under construction in northern India, according to a report received from church leaders in the region. The attack occurred on Sunday, August 25.

An anti-Christian mob destroyed the local congregation's church building, which was in the final stages of construction

With the building demolished, the mob began to beat the pastor, his mother and church members, who were able to flee and went into hiding for the night. The extent of their injuries is not known. No deaths were reported.
"It is our desire that these who are persecuting will know the love of God for them," said KP Yohannan, Gospel for Asia (GFA) founder and president.

The Christian congregation had begun construction more than two years earlier, but quickly met resistance and had been forced to stop the work. After much prayer, the climate seemed to improve and construction resumed. Building had progressed uneventfully to the point that workers were ready to install the roof, when the attack came this week.

Earlier that afternoon, a small group from the community confronted the pastor and demanded that construction cease, saying the building was not wanted. Recognizing the growing tension, the pastor stopped the work.

Despite the pastor's decision, the group rallied the villagers to a meeting and incited them to attack.

The day after the attack, regional leaders first prayed and then met with local police, who declined to become involved. Despite continuing threats, the leaders returned to the site to survey the damage and take photos.

Church leaders have requested prayer from believers around the world that God will protect the pastor, his family and the congregation; heal the pastor's son, whose medicine cannot be obtained in the current uneasy climate; and open the eyes of the villagers so they might experience the love of Jesus in their lives.

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