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The complainant alleged that they lured tribal villagers into Christianity by promising free education and treatment in missionary-run schools and hospitals. A Catholic church priest and a pastor were among three people arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police on Sunday night for allegedly luring tribals from a village in the state’s Jhabua district to convert to Christianity, The Indian Express reported. A first information report was filed at Kalyanpura police station based on a complaint by a man identified as Tetiya Bariya. The complainant alleged that Father Jam Singh Dindore, Pastor Ansingh Ninama and a person named Mangu Mehtab Bhuriya lured tribal villagers into Christianity by promising free education and treatment in missionary-run schools and hospitals. All three of them have been charged under the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2021, popularly known as the anti-conversion law, Dinesh Rawat, who is in charge of Kalyanpura police station, told PTI. In his written application, Bariya said, “On December 26, at around 8 am Father Jam Singh Dindore called me and Surti Bai [another villager] to their prayer room and made us sit in a weekly meeting called for conversion. They sprinkled water on us and read the Bible to us.” The complainant claimed he was

Read the main story in nytimes.com 12/22/2021: “They want to remove us from society,” a Christian farmer said of Hindu extremists. Rising attacks on Christians are part of a broader shift in India, in which minorities feel less safe. INDORE, India — The Christians were mid-hymn when the mob kicked in the door. A swarm of men dressed in saffron poured inside. They jumped onstage and shouted Hindu supremacist slogans. They punched pastors in the head. They threw women to the ground, sending terrified children scuttling under their chairs. “They kept beating us, pulling out hair,” said Manish David, one of the pastors who was assaulted. “They yelled: ‘What are you doing here? What songs are you singing? What are you trying to do?’” The attack unfolded on the morning of Jan. 26 at the Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra Christian center in the city of Indore. The police soon arrived, but the officers did not touch the aggressors. Instead, they arrested and jailed the pastors and other church elders, who were still dizzy from getting punched in the head. The Christians were charged with breaking a newly enforced law that targets religious conversions, one that mirrors at least a dozen other measures across the country that

A fact-finding report by a Protestant group in India has documented 39 violent attacks on Christians in the southern state of Karnataka since January. The Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) published the report on Dec. 13 claiming that the Christian community in Karnataka had good reason to feel targeted by the outbreak of violence. “It is clear and obvious that an atmosphere of fear and apprehension prevails in the Christian community and its grassroots religious clergy because of a systematic targeting through a vicious and malicious hate campaign,” said Reverend Vijayesh Lal, EFI general secretary and publisher of the report. He further added that it was “equally obvious that those involved in carrying out this hate campaign and fear-mongering enjoy the protection and possibly support of elements within the political and law and order apparatus in the state.” Reverend Lal said the EFI was making the report public in the interests of the Christian community in the state and the country and to help safeguard peace and harmony by calling upon the state government to act immediately before any major untoward incident takes place. Copies of the report have been sent to the office of the prime minister of India,

12/08/2021: Archbishop Sebastian Durairaj of Bhopal seeks action against the culprits and dialogue between the Church and its accusers. Archbishop Sebastian Durairaj of Bhopal has urged authorities to end the continuing violence against Christians in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. “A section of our community is feeling insecure. That is why we met Home Minister Narottam Mishra, who has assured us of appropriate action,” the archbishop is reported to have said in a video message released after his meeting with the minister on Dec. 7. He also appealed for action in the recent attack on St. Joseph School in Vidisha district by a 500-strong mob of Hindutva activists alleging the school management was converting students to Christianity. The newly appointed archbishop, who is based in state capital Bhopal, told UCA News that he raised the issue of increasing attacks against Christians and their institutions in the state. “He asked me ‘Do you convert people?’ and I replied ‘No, we don’t,’” Archbishop Durairaj said about his interaction with Mishra. “The minister patiently listened to our concerns and agreed to help us. He promised action against those who attacked the school.” We need to reach out to all those who have misconceptions or misunderstandings about us

12/06/2021: A mob of more than 500 people on December 6 attacked a Catholic school in a town of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, accusing it of indulging in religious conversion. Brother Antony Pynumkal, principal of St Joseph’s School at Ganj Basoda in Vidisha district told Matters India that the allegation of conversion was “fake and baseless.” Ganj Basoda town is some 105 km northwest of Bhopal, the state capital. The Malabar Missionary Brother said they had received a memorandum on November 30 from some local Hindu groups from Ahirwar, Dangi and Rajput Communities alleging of conversion of students. The management had informed the police but only two of them were deployed in the school premise when the mob came. They could not do anything, said Brother Pynumkal. The local parish of St. Joseph on October 31 organized the First Holy Communion and Confirmation of eight Catholic children. A local Youtube channel called “Aayudh” carried the event as conversion. “Those children are not our students and the parish is some two kilometers away from the school,” said Brother Pynumkal. The management had already informed the local police about the memorandum and ongoing board exams in the school. The principal said the mob attacked the school

Rights groups record more than 300 attacks on Christians and their religious places in the first nine months of this year. New Delhi/Roorkee, India – In late October, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi met and invited Pope Francis to India, the country with the second-largest Christian population in Asia. However, in a speech about two weeks earlier, Mohan Bhagwat, head of the far-right Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the ideological mentor of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), warned Hindus about religious conversions and alleged “demographic changes” in India’s northeastern states, which have a large Christian population. In his annual speech on October 14 to mark the Hindu festival of Dussehra (also known as Durga Puja), Bhagwat said: “Rising population and demographic imbalance need to be addressed and population policy is to be redesigned. And that policy should be applicable to all irrespective of caste and creed. Illegal immigration in bordering districts and conversions in [the] northeast have changed the demographics further.” The RSS aims to create an ethnic Hindu state out of India. As the head of Sangh Parivar, the umbrella group of Hindu nationalist organisations including the BJP, Bhagwat’s Dussehra speech is considered an agenda-setter for the year. Rise in attacks on Christians across India As

11/29/2021: The attack reportedly took place when the warehouse-turned-church was holding its first Sunday prayer. A warehouse-turned-church in Delhi’s Dwarka area was vandalised on Sunday allegedly by members of Hindutva group Bajrang Dal, reported the Millennium Post. The attack reportedly took place when the church was holding its first Sunday prayer. “Police received information at 9.30 am on 28 November that a quarrel had broken out at a godown-turned-church on Matiala Road,” a police officer told The Quint. “On inquiry, it was found that a group of residents and local miscreants vandalised the board that read ‘church’.” The police have registered two first information reports – one against those accused of vandalism for causing public nuisance and another against those present in the church for violating Delhi Disaster Management Act guidelines – at the local Bindapur police station. The guidelines prohibit large gatherings in view of the coronavirus pandemic. The Delhi Disaster Management has allowed religious places to reopen for devotees, but the warehouse-turned-church had not been designated as religious premises, a police officer told Millennium Post. One person has been arrested in connection with the vandalism, reported The Indian Express. “Some people had gathered at a warehouse where they had put a board with word

11/24/2021: Tribal animists influenced by Hindu extremists in central India last month forced Christians to exhume the body of a 25-year-old man buried on relatives’ private land because they didn’t want a Christian interred in their village, sources said. Laxman Markam had been dead for two days when about 50 residents of different villages armed with axes and wooden clubs on Oct. 29 forced his Christian widow and brothers to exhume his body in Gumadpal village, in Chhattisgarh state’s Bastar District, said Methodist Church pastor Samson Baghel. “They demanded Laxman’s corpse be exhumed,” Pastor Baghel told Morning Star News. “When the family asked the crowd as to where should they bury Laxman then, the crowd told them to take it wherever they wanted, but that they would not let a Christian remain buried in the village.” The deceased’s brother, Sitaram Markam, said villagers claimed that ownership of the land where he was buried was disputed. After more rancorous objection and threats, the Christians were forced to exhume Markam’s body, and the villagers demanded that it be taken to Pastor Baghel’s village for burial 15 miles away. Pastor Baghel then called local police. Laxman’s corpse lay exhumed on the private land for hours before police arrived, the

11/17/2021 – On Sunday morning, October 10, Vijendra Prasad was playing the Dolluck, an Indian leather instrument, as he joined 70 other Christians in singing worship songs in India’s Uttar Pradesh state. The worship music suddenly stopped when a mob of enraged Hindu nationalists burst into the hall and began yelling. The mob accused the Christians, including Prasad, of engaging in illegal religious conversions and began a physical assault. Following the attack, seven Christians from the congregation were arrested and sent to jail for violating Uttar Pradesh’s anti-conversion law. International Christian Concern (ICC) recently interviewed Prasad, age 46, to follow up on the attack and the false forced conversion accusation that was leveled against him. Because of this false accusation, Prasad, along with his wife and son, spent two weeks in the Central Jail in Mau. “Neither have I heard of nor attended a dharmantharan (conversion) ceremony,” Prasad told ICC. “Seven years ago, in 2014, I was on my death bed and was taken to several hospitals. At last, the doctors in Lucknow told me that they were going to amputate my leg, but they said this would not guarantee I would survive.” “I was brought home and lost all hope,” Prasad continued.

11/17/2021 - Hindu groups lead reconversion campaign but Christians are charged with proselytization in tribal pockets of Madhya Pradesh Indigenous Christians in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh say they are under increasing pressure to give up their faith due to mounting pressure from Hindu activists. “Our people are being forced to give up Christianity and join the Hindu religion,” said Patrick Ganava, a Catholic from the predominantly tribal Jhabua district. He said Hindu activists and organizations were conducting special drives in villages to pressurize Christians, which was a cause for worry. “There is propaganda against Christians in the district but come what may we will not give up our faith in Jesus,” he told UCA News on Nov. 16. The anti-Christian campaign, coupled with police arrests of 10 Christians including six pastors on Nov. 10 for alleged religious conversion, has emboldened right-wing Hindu groups, Ganava said. “It is unfortunate that we are being portrayed as people working only for converting people to Christianity,” said Father Rocky Shah, public relations officer of Jhabua Catholic Diocese. It is a fact that life as a Christian in this region has become increasingly difficult. Some Hindu groups such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal are treating Christians as

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