by Nirmala Carvalho
Two more incidents are recorded in Karnataka. Hindu extremists submit Pentecostal Christians to a ‘purification’ ceremony at a Hindu temple in order to force them to abjure their Christian faith. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), “these attacks are work of the Hindu party to win votes.”
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Two new anti-Christian incidents were recorded, at a one day interval, in the state of Karnataka. In both cases, Pentecostal Christians were the victims, attacked in the privacy of their homes, when ultranationalist Hindus tried to force them to forswear their Christian faith.
For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), it is increasingly clear that the incidents “are orchestrated” because “in Karnataka and in other states governed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), religion and politics go hand in hand and are used to gain as many votes as possible.” The ultranationalist Hindu party has been in power in the state since 2007.
The latest case was recorded yesterday in Gudadahalli Hearaghatta (north of Bangalore). Two Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS ) activists infiltrated a prayer meeting held at the Pentecostal Church led by Rev Muniraju. After the start of the service, an additional eight RSS members burst into the place.
In the church, they burnt or tore up all the Bibles and religious documents found. They also slapped and beat up the clergyman.
To intimidate the community, they dragged him and his five to a Hindu temple, about a kilometre away, where they forced the couple to take part in a pooja, a Hindu rite. Before they let them go, the attacked warned them against holding more prayer services.
Two days earlier, on Friday, the Bethel Prathanalaya Pentecostal Church, near Bhadravathi, Shimoga District, was attacked in the same fashion.
The community of 25 is led by Rev Kumar Hanumanthappa. On that day, the members had travelled to the neighbouring village Voddarahalli Thanda, guests of five local families.
About 20 RSS and Bajrang Dal activists stormed the prayer services, telling those present they would suffer “terrible consequences” if they continued to practice Christianity.
After beating some of those present and burning some of the Bibles, the Hindus forced the entire community to walk to the nearest Hindu temple to take part in their religion’s ‘purification’ ceremony.
Once they were able to go home, some of the Christians stopped at the Holehonnur police station to file a formal complaint. However, no one has yet to be arrested in connection with the case.
“Article 14 of the Indian constitution provides for equality before law for all people,” Sajan George said. “And yet in the case of attacks on Christians and Christian places of worship, the perpetrators go scot free, while the innocent victims are arrested”.