Hindu extremists storm Christian gathering in Jhabua, in the Central Indian State ruled by the Hindu nationalist party.
Violence against Christian gatherings are becoming routine in a Madhya Pradesh district. Hindutva-inspired militants held a rally calling for a ban on Christian meetings. “At the start of the Advent season, we are concerned for the Christian community in Jhabua,” said Sayan K. George.
Bhopal (AsiaNews) – In Jhabua, a district in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, Hindu extremists are again putting more pressure on Christians.
On Monday afternoon, militants inspired by Hindutva, a Hindu-centred nationalist ideology, held a rally with hundreds of activists “denouncing” alleged conversion activities among tribal people in some of the district’s rural areas.
The incident comes after nine people were seized during an organised prayer in the village of Manpur on 10 December last year. As usual Hindutva activists broke into a building where the religious service was underway and called the police.
A case was filed against the Christians under the state’s toughened up anti-conversion law.
Pictures of the incident show Christians, their hands tied, held under guard by a Hindu nationalist activist. After they were taken to prison, they were released on bail.
Now the rally has further heightened tensions. Hindu extremists handed a memorandum over to the local police superintendent and the local magistrate.
In their 13-point petition, they demand a ban on meetings “for conversions and activities of this type”.
Similarly, they want all tribal people in Jabhua who convert to Christianity removed from the Scheduled Tribe list. This would exclude them from all the benefits to which they would be otherwise entitled under that status.
Monday’s incident is not the first of its kind. Back in September, Christians were the victims of a similar attack in the same district.
“It is certainly not a crime to gather to pray in a sacred space or in a house, yet these extremists now routinely raid such meetings with spurious claims of conversion,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, speaking to AsiaNews.
“At the start of the Advent season, we are concerned for the Christian community in Jhabua. Let us pray to the Prince of Peace so that all the people of God may profess their faith in safety and dignity,” he added.