India: AICC presents reports of attacks on Christians during Christmas celebrations.

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Organised attacks on Christian minorities reported from across the country during Christmas celebration. Christians were put in the bar for celebrating Christmas. The Hindutva extremists have organised hate campaign against Christian minorities. Dharma Sena (Hindu Religious Extremist) of Vishva Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) has misused the anti conversion bills passed in BJP rule states of India. Most of the Christian attacks in the states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh have been carried out by the activists of Dharma Sena. The state governments, police forces and judicial system of those BJP rule states have failed to protect and render justice to Christian minorities. The same has been reported by Indian People's Tribunal about situation in the state of Orissa. 1. Attacks in Chhatisgarh – A Lady School Teacher arrested Arun Pannalal – General Secretary of Chhatisgarh Christian Forum reported to All India Christian Council that night before Christmas Dharm Sena activists roamed in and around Raipur, the capital city of Chhatisgarh in 50 vehicles announcing publicly to close down any form of Christmas celebration in Raipur city. Mr. Arun said that it was their game plan to some how push Chhatisgarh into communal violence. A source reaching to Christian Council, a lady has been falsely implicated for distributing Bible in her school. She was beaten badly by Dharm Sena activist and latter police has arrested her with false charges of force conversion. Mr. Arun said that state Government led by Bharatiya Janta Party (Hindu Political Party) protected the culprits and falsely accused the lady with anti conversion bill. 2. Attacks in Chhatisgarh – A Pastor charged with force conversion when distributed toffees Christian Council has been reported that a pastor is beaten up by Dharma Sena activists in Chhatisgarh while distributing toffees to Sunday school children. Police has framed falsely with anti conversion bill. Mr. Arun said that when Chhatisgarh Christian Forum tried to bail out, Dharm Sena activists threaten the Chhatisgarh Christian Forum members. The democratic rights of Christian minority have been denied by Dharm Sena activists and Police forces. 3. Attacks in Chhatisgarh – A Pastor along with ten members arrested on Christmas Eve Rev. Ram from Dhamtari – 80 km away from Raipur along with ten other church members have been arrested on Christmas Eve with the charges of force conversion. BJP led state Government has not give rights to Christian community to celebrate Christmas. Sources reaching to Christian Council, Rev. Ram and his ten church members have been beaten up for distributing toffees to his church members and police has arrested them with force conversion allegation. Mr. Arun reports that Chhatisgarh Christian Forum managed to bail out Rev. Ram and his colleagues with the help of some known officials. Rev. Ram and his colleagues have been summoned to appear before district magistrate. 4. Meitei Christians in Manipur Threaten to burn down their homes if do not forsake Christianity Rev. Debendra – Executive Secretary of Meitei Baptist Association report to All India Christian Council that some of the villagers of Waithou Trongloubi under Thoubal Police station threaten the Christian minority of the village in a written document dated December 23, 2006 that Christians will not be allowed to celebrate Christmas in the village. After having receive the threatening letter, the matter has been reported to Thoubal District Police headquarter. Security forces were provided to the Christians to celebrate the Christmas. Police arrested Laishram Sharat and Kundrakpam Brojen who led the villagers to oppose the Christian present in the village. Latter both were released with warning not to disturb the Christians in village. The latest source reaching to Christian Council that it has been reported that villagers have resolved again to force the Christian families to leave the village other their homes will be burnt down. Soon after receiving the threat from villagers, All India Christian Council has called upon Mr. Ibomcha – the District Superintendent of Police, Thoubal and reported the matter. Mr. Ibomcha assured Christian Council that Christians of the village will be protected and any culprits involve in the crime will be dealt severely. 5. Police bared Christians in Hisar District of Punjab from preaching about Christ on Christmas On December 24, 2006, Rev. Reginald Howell – Senior Pastor of Good Shepherd Community Churches reported that his church members in Hisar district of Punjab was taken to the local police station and warned not to preach on Christmas eve. To protect and provide the constitutional rights to profess and propagate the religion one likes is the duty of police forces. But Mr. Vidya Anand – Station House Officer (SHO) of local police station reported to Christian Council that local Christians have been instructed to celebrate Christmas without preaching about Christ. On December 23, 2006, two of the local pastors in Hisar district were taken to police station and latter released with warning not to preach about Christ. Latter the Christian Council was reported that on December 24, 2006, both the pastors were again taken to police station and warned not to have any form of Christmas celebration as Siva Sena and Bajrang Dal activities objected. All India Christian Council condemns Hindutva forces for false allegation upon the peace loving Christian community and harassing Christmas celebration. Christian Council also appeals to police forces to protect and provide the constitutional rights to Christian minorities. 6. Hindu extremists attack against Christians in Haryana About 50 Bajrang Dal extremists attacked the Christian couple, Rakesh Sen and Suman Sen, at about 8 a. m. yesterday at their home in Lakarpur, Faridabad district, Haryana. The attackers were upset at the couple for regularly allowing their New Life Fellowship church to meet in their home for Sunday worship. The extremists warned them against holding church services at their home and said they would organize a program on Saturday (December 24) in which all the church members would have to chant the names of Hindu gods. Police accepted and registered a complaint against the Bajrang Dal, and the village head of Lakarpur has apologized for the attack, according to Cinderella Lal, the pastor of New Life Fellowship. "The village head gave us an assurance in writing that no one will trouble us in the future," Lal said. "So it seems we have reached a compromise with the attackers." A representative of the Christian Legal Association of India said the Bajrang Dal extremists had cancelled the program planned for December 24. Haryana state has one of the lowest percentages of Christians in India. According to the 2001 government census, only about 27,000 of the 21 million residents of Haryana are Christians. 7. Pastor Assaulted in Chhattisgarh In Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh, a group of about 50 extremists from the Dharam Raksha Sena (DRS or Army for Religious Protection) beat an independent pastor on Sunday (December 17) and accused him of forced conversions. They attacked Philip Jagdalla as he returned to his home after teaching Sunday school at his church, according to a statement released by the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum (CCF). The mob then dragged Jagdalla to the police station in Pandri and accused him of forced conversions. The police lodged a complaint against Jagdalla under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for "hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus." Jagdalla was then held in police custody. When representatives of the CCF reached the police station on Sunday afternoon, they found a mob of DRS extremists surrounding the station and shouting slogans against Christians. "They knew we were going to the police station to bail out Pastor Jagdalla, and they did not want the police to release him," the CCF said in a statement. Police sent the pastor to a hospital for medical examination – which the CCF lauded, as police in India rarely do that for Christian victims – and registered a counter complaint against the attackers. The CCF criticized local newspapers for publishing false allegations against Jagdalla. Chhattisgarh also has a population of about 21 million, out of which only 401,000 are Christians. 8. Christians stoned in Hubli, Karnataka Residents of Revadihal village on this city`s outskirts pelted stones at a group of Christian missionaries, alleging that they were converting people by distributing sweets. No one was injured in the incident as the missionaries took shelter in a van they were travelling in and managed to flee from the village, police said. According to police, the Christian missionaries, who reached the village this morning, were reportedly converting people. As the news spread, villagers surrounded them and pelted stones in protest. Tension prevailed in the village after the incident but the situation was now under control, police said. VHP leader Gokak Subhas Singh expressed anguish at the reported conversion and demanded that the government should initiate steps to check such incidents. 9. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) became the cause of an injury to a boy in Khandwa near Indore A youth named Chandan injured another person Rustam Khan with one of the trishuls he received from the VHP after a trivial altercation. "A boy was sitting at the backside of my house. He was sitting there since 2 pm. At 6 pm I went to him and asked him the reason for sitting there. He told me that he is waiting for his friends. I told him to leave, but he started abusing me. So, I slapped him on his face. At this, he went away and came back with some boys. One boy held my hands and the other boy pulled out a sharp trishul like weapon and stabbed me in my back," said Rustam Khan, the victim. Chandan, has been arrested and a case under section 307 IPC has been registered against him. Police is trying to locate Chandan`s friends, interrogate them and take an appropriate action against them. Superintendent of Police (SP), Khandwa K D Parashst said, "According to the victim`s brother, Chandan`s friends had come along with him but they did not assault. They just fled when Chandan assaulted Rustam. Now, we are trying to ascertain the names and addresses of his friends and arrest them". The victim`s brother Aslam Khan pleaded for a ban on such mass distribution of trishuls. 10. A group of Christian villagers in Jharkhand have re-converted to their original tribal religion The group of 48 tribals from 12 villages in Bero block of Ranchi were re-converted by the Hindu Jagran Manch on Wednesday. They had been converted to Christianity a few years ago and the Hindu Jagran Manch was persuading them to reconvert. `The people were re converted to the tribal community under the Ghar Vapsi (back home) programme launched by our organisation. The tribes people were converted to Christianity by alluring them with money and other things,` alleged Suman Kumar, state organiser Hindu Jagran Manch. The tribal priests carried out the rituals of re conversion by washing the feet of the 48 people and reciting prayers to `purify` them. A few weeks ago, around 600 tribals converted to Christianity in Jharkhand THe Hindu Jagran Manch through intimidation and strong arm tactics force people to go through these -reconversion drama` 11. Two Young Christian Women, Minor Tortured in India Hindu extremists break into their home and beat them for refusing to 'reconvert.' by Vishal Arora NEW DELHI, December 22 (Compass Direct News) – A group of Hindu extremists in the southern state of Karnataka have tortured two young women and a girl who converted to Christianity in an attempt to "reconvert" them to Hinduism. The incident took place in Guruparahalli area, 12 kilometers (8 miles) from Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka, on December 14. A man identified only as Ramesh broke into the house of three sisters – Jyothi, 20; Nandhini, 18; and Jalaja, 16. He pressured them to reconvert and beat them for refusing. The victims, who work in a garment factory, attend the Assembly of God church. Ramesh, who used to live nearby until three months ago, had been opposing the sisters since they converted to Christianity from Hinduism a few months ago. "The extremists intruded into the house of the women in the evening and got violent upon finding a Bible and other Christian literature on a table," Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told Compass. The intruders told the sisters that they would give them whatever they could ask for, and that Jesus would do nothing for them. The sisters did not react. This made the extremists more furious, and they threw the Bible and Christian literature on the floor and stamped on them. "The fanatics also replaced a Christian calendar with that of Sai Baba, a Hindu god," George said. "They pressured the women to worship the picture of Sai Baba and apply vermillion on their forehead as a sign of their conversion to Hinduism." When the sisters refused to do so, the extremists beat them. "They pulled the youngest sister's hair, dragged her and banged her against the wall," he said. "They beat the other two sisters also very brutally. One of them fainted, as she is an asthmatic patient." Sadly, he added, the parents did not come to rescue their daughters. "The fanatics continued to beat and torture the sisters for over four hours and left the place only at 2 a.m.," George said. The sisters' father is allegedly an alcoholic and lives on the income of his daughters. Fearing further tensions, the three sisters took a taxi and left for their uncle's place in Bangalore at about 4 a.m. Upon learning about the persecution, the victim's uncle, identified only as Natesh, lodged a police complaint. The police arrested Ramesh, who was released on bail on December 20. The police are investigating the case. George said the December 14 break-in was the third time Hindu extremists had barged into the sisters' house. Ramesh and others first broke into their house on December 13 to warn them against attending church and reading Christian literature. When they returned on the morning of December 14, they found Nandhini reading the Bible, which infuriated them. They warned the sisters again and promised to come back in the evening, when they attacked them. Separately, in Revadihal village on the outskirts of Bangalore, local residents on Tuesday (December 19) pelted stones at a group of Christian missionaries and accused them of converting Hindus. According to Indo-Asian News Service (IANS), no one was injured as the missionaries took shelter in a van they were traveling in and managed to flee from the village. Tension prevailed in the village after the incident, but the situation was soon brought under control, said IANS. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) demanded that the government initiate steps to check conversions. 12. Yuletide Carol-Singers Arrested, Church Burned in India Christmas Eve services disrupted in several states. by Vishal Arora and Nirmala Carvalho NEW DELHI, December 27 (Compass Direct News) – Hindu extremists burned down a church in India on Saturday (December 23), arrested carol-singers on Christmas Eve and disrupted yuletide services in several states. One Christian suffered a fractured hand, and another lost his hearing. Extremists burned down a thatched church in Boriguma area, Koraput district of Orissa state on Saturday night (December 23), preventing church members from celebrating Christmas there. The congregation had already decorated the building for Christmas festivities, but everything was destroyed in the fire. Asit Kumar Mohanty, state representative of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said GCIC was investigating the incident to determine who was responsible. On Christmas Eve, about 45 jeeps full of Dharma Sena members circled through the streets of Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh state, announcing that they would close down all church services held on Christmas Day. "Dharma Sena is a Hindu fundamentalist group supported by the VHP and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party state government," Arun Pannalal, general secretary of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, told Compass. "They had already carried out several attacks in the week before Christmas," he added. "These public threats are just another step in their campaign to rid the state of Christians." 13. Prayer Service Disrupted Hindu extremists also prevented tribal Christians in Tilonda village, Thane district of Maharashtra state, from celebrating a joint Christmas prayer service on Christmas Eve. Over 400 Christians had gathered for the event. Before the service could begin, however, a large mob from the local Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad barged into the assembly, shouting slogans against Christianity and driving the Christians away from the prayer hall. Fearing further violence, church officials canceled the event. According to Dr. Abraham Mathai, vice-chair of the Maharashtra State Minorities Commission, there were three other incidents of violence against tribal Christians in Thane district in the week before Christmas. Mathai had written to local police asking for protection for the Christmas Eve prayer service. "The police were present, but they did nothing when the extremists arrived," Mathai said. 14. `Reconverted` to Hinduism The Hindu extremist group Dharam Jagran Samiti (DJS or Society for Religious Revival) yesterday (December 26) claimed it had "reconverted a large number of Christians" in Agra district of the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, Asian News International reported. "Those Hindus who had converted to Christianity, or those who were lured into joining it by Christian missionaries, were called here to return back to the Hindu fold with respect and on equal terms," said Gajeshwar Singh, regional chief of the DJS. On December 23, police asked the Good Shepherd Community Church (GSCC) in Agroha, Hisar district, Haryana state not to celebrate Christmas. "Some people, seemingly belonging to the Bajrang Dal and VHP, lodged a complaint in the Agroha police station alleging that the church was converting Hindus," the Rev. Reginald Howell of the GSCC told Compass. He said the complaint was filed when the church members were singing Christmas carols in the church. Following the compaint, the police summoned seven Christians, including the pastor of the church, identified only as Romi, and interrogated them. They were released after the village head requested the police. "The Christians were called to the police station again on December 24 and ordered not to conduct any service on Christmas," Howell said. "However, after representatives of the Christian Legal Association of India intervened, the police allowed the church to celebrate Christmas," he added. 15. Police Prevention In the only positive report, officials prevented an anti-Christian rally in Dangs, Gujarat, on Christmas Day, heading off further violence. The All India Christian Council (AICC) has thanked the chief minister of Gujarat state, Narendra Modi, for preventing anti-Christian violence in Dangs district during Christmas. AICC Joint Secretary Samson Christian said the heads of both Dangs and Bhavnagar districts refused permission to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to hold a massive rally in the region on Christmas day. The rally was announced after eight statues of local gods were desecrated by unknown persons on December 14. Hindu extremists blamed Christians for the sacrilege and announced plans to hold a rally in the area on December 25. Christians asked local authorities to ban the event, since previous rallies in the area at Christmas time have resulted in violent attacks. In a rally held during Christmas week 1998, Hindu extremists destroyed several Christian churches and institutions and attacked many individuals. "Tight police security was maintained in the Christian-dominated areas, particularly the tribal district of the Dangs, which has a history of Hindu-Christian clashes during Christmas celebrations," The Hindu daily newspaper reported.

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