Church services interrupted, arrested pastors, allegations of forced conversions: Easter plight of Christians in India-Parliamentarian question safety of women in India
Santosh Digal and Nirmala Carvalho
Bishops, activists and ordinary people complain about incidents of violence and intimidation across the country. Despite constitutional guarantees, the Christian minority is being persecuted. The threat on Palm Sunday: "If you want to pray, you must have official permission."
Govt busy protecting cows, not women: Jaya Bachchan in Parliament
Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.(ANI Twitter)
The government is busy protecting cows not women, said Samajwadi Party MP Jaya Bachchan in Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Bachchan’s remark came after protests by Trinamool Congress MPs who raised the issue of a BJP youth leader announcing a Rs 11 lakh reward for anyone who beheads West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Must take steps for protection of women aggressively. You are protecting cows but atrocities being committed on women,” said Bachchan.
Instances of vigilantism have grown with so-called gau rakshaks accused of violence and even murder.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - incidents of violence, intimidation and harassment against Christians in India, and discriminated minority oppressed by the majority Hindus. Even on Palm Sunday and Holy Week before Easter eve. As reflected in the stories of what happened throughout the national territory, pastors and believers arrested, deleted prayer meetings, masses interrupted, arrested on false accusations of proselytism, tribal forced to "return home", that is to Hinduism. For AsiaNews speak bishops, activists and ordinary people, who point out that India is a secular and democratic country only on paper (constitutional), and over the years has become increasingly prey to the Hindu nationalists, led by the central government (BJP Bharatiya Janata Party) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On April 7, the Hindu Yuva Vahini radical, nationalist youth brigade created in 2002 by Yogi Adityanath, the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh , raided a Dadhauli church in Maharajganj district ( Uttar Pradesh ), and interrupted the church service. In the church at that time there were about 150 faithful, including 10 American tourists. All Christians, including the pastor Yuhanna Adam, were arrested by police on charges of forced conversions to Christianity. Msgr. Thomas Thuruthimattam, bishop of Gorakhpur, complains: "It was a real indirect attack on religious freedom. These indirect threats are against the principles established in the Constitution, against people who are represented in the Constitution itself. "
Witnesses say that the nationalists have insulted, intimidated and provoked Christians, then although police have established the falsity of the disputed charges. The pastore Adam also reports that young people have entered the church with an excuse: "I arrived early in the morning, asking to visit the facility for its historical value. How could we stop him? The church is open to all and everyone is welcome at any time. Later, as soon as it began the Mass, the group with bandanas saffron [typical of nationalists headgear, editor's note ] is back with agents in tow. The police immediately blocked the function and asked everyone to leave the building. " Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), criticizes the behavior of the police: "India is a democratic and secular country with constitutional guarantees. In ecclesiastical events it is not committed any irregularity. Despite this, the police interrupted the religious rite on the basis of fabricated charges without any basis. The GCIC fears the increase in insecurity that affects the vulnerable Christian minority. "
The Christian leaders also condemned the "cowardly act against tourists. It seems the repetition of the old stereotype of the missionaries who go among the people to convert masses of gullible. In fact in India it is very common to see Western tourists wearing orange robes (saffron) and attend the Hindu festival. On those occasions they are often distributed copies of the sacred Hindu texts, but the police did not stop or never stops the distribution of authors. " On the contrary, adds Sajan K George, "if tourists participate in a Mass, they are arrested and abused. This is a gross violation of human rights ".
Since last month in Jharkhand radicals of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have "brought home the Hindu family" 53 tribal families, including the last seven in early April. The campaign of tribal conversion will last throughout the month. Sajan K George denounces "the tribal Hindus have never been, therefore, an attempt to bring them back to Hinduism house is just a way to harass them." Then poses a technical question: "To what caste they would like to include them, since the tribals are not Hindus?".
On April 8 in Bangalore, Karnataka , was canceled at the last moment a Christian event scheduled for the next day. The authorities withdrew the permission to carry out the event, which had registered more than 1,000 people who were supposed to attend a conference of two American evangelical pastors. The event was canceled after Girish Bhardwaj, radical Hindus, filed a complaint with the Immigration Service against the hypothetical attempt to convert from the two foreigners holding a visa that allowed them only to participate in the rally , and not to speak in public. The GCIC president expresses a strong condemnation of the incident and asked the Prime Minister of India to "invite the state governments to ensure the safety of Christians during Holy Week."
About the week before Easter, his start has also been marred in India, as well as the attacks against Coptic churches in Egypt . On Palm Sunday many episodes of intolerance have occurred in all the territory. In Madhya Pradesh , in the village of Sitabedi, members of the RSS - accompanied by police - have interrupted the celebrations and arrested the pastors Amar Singh Solanki, Kishore Solanki Barela and Prabhakar, their wives and other Christians on charges of forced conversions . The same charges have been challenged to pastore Yashpal, whilst celebrating mass at Kaithal in Haryana . In the village of Jahanpur, in Uttar Pradesh , other Hindu extremists beat Pastor Krishna Paul, the Believer's Church, and transported by force to the police station. The same fate has befallen the pastore Saji Mathew of the Church of God of Sri Ganganagar in Rajasthan , who was arrested along with seven other Christians. Finally Taluka Palani in Tamil Nadu , some administration officials have privately broke into the pastore Gunasekaran while he was being prayer. The authorities took photographs and filmed the people attending the function; They have also warned that if Christians want to pray in the future, will have to obtain an official permit.