Hindu extremists stop construction of church building
Mob in central Indian state of Chhattisgarh accused Christians of indulging in illegal conversion activities.
Posted on August 25, 2016, 5:29 PM
The entrance of the church building under construction blocked by a wall erected by Hindu extremists in Chhattisgarh. (Photo supplied) Bhopal:
In the latest attack against Christians in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh, Hindu extremists have stopped the construction of a church building and threatened Christians if they continue professing their faith.
A Hindu mob of some 200 people erected a concrete wall and blocked the entrance of the compound where the Believers Church community was constructing their church for their 100 Christian families at Chaitama village, Korba district.
Some from the mob also disrupted a prayer meeting in the compound Aug. 21, before going ahead with the construction of the wall.
Christian leader Pappu Sadhu told ucanews.com that the Hindu mob accused Christians of indulging in illegal conversion activities.
They also wanted Christians to join the Hindu religion and threatened them with dire consequences if they continued with Christian prayers meetings, Sadhu said.
District officials and police were not available to comment on the attack when contacted.
Samuel Das, another Christian community member said the mob "wanted us to demolish the building after we finished more than half of the construction. We took up the matter from local police station, district officials and to the state Chief Minister. But on one came to our help."
The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which is seen as the political wing of Hindu groups that want to make India a Hindu theocratic nation, governs the state.
"The situation in this area is so bad that if you want to be a Christian, you will have to prepare to be martyred," Das said.
"The Hindu activists have a free hand to do anything they want to do as the police and the administration back them," he said.
"The role of police is not impartial as it often seemed to be under pressure from these groups. They register cases without proper investigation," said a press release from the Chhattisgarh Catholic Council, a representative body of bishops, priests, religious and laity.
It also expressed "deep anguish" over the increasing incidents of "attacks and unlawful actions" against Christian community
In the past three years Hindu extremists have attacked several priests, nuns and missionaries. A Catholic nun was also raped.
The council also alleged that police often arrest missionaries on false charges of violating a law that restricts conversion activities.
Chhattisgarh Christian Forum president Arun Pannalal said there has been at least 20 attacks on Christians so far this year.
The attacks are part of "a well orchestrated move" to eliminate Christians in the state, according to R.D. Lall, a leader of Rashtria Isai Mahasangh or national Christian Forum.
Several Indian states have passed laws banning religious conversion through threat, fraud or inducement — a crime punishable with imprisonment. Christian leaders said the law aims at checking the church's activities in health care and education, which can be interpreted as inducement.
Christians number less than 1 percent of the population in the Hindu-dominated state.