top
March

A pastor is facing criminal charges in northern India even though the complainant later denied allegations against the church leader of luring him to convert, sources said. Police in Rupaidiha village, Uttar Pradesh state on Jan. 28 arrested 40-year-old pastor Dharmendra Singh on a charge of “alluring to convert” and two related charges – outraging religious feelings and promoting enmity. He was released on bail on Jan. 31. Pastor Singh denied all charges against him, saying members of the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal fabricated a story and pressured a new Christian, Ramesh Gautam, to file a false complaint against him. Gautam said in court on Jan. 30 that the allegations were false, the pastor said. “He witnessed that his faith is his own choice and nobody has forced him or his family to believe in Jesus,” Pastor Singh told Morning Star News. “‘We have not converted by allurement but have become worshippers of Jesus,’ said Ramesh in the courtroom.” Pastor Singh leads a church in Nepalganj, Nepal, where he resides just across the India-Nepal border, but he regularly visits the Indian village of Rupaidiha, Bahraich District, to lead the new fellowship there where Gautam worships. Gautam and other members of his family put

 An Indian magazine has asked the federal government to derecognize the Vatican as a state for the Church’s alleged interference in the country’s politics. Church’s political interference should make Indian government sit up and formally take note, says an article swarajyamag.com published on February 4. The Indian government “must either issue a cease and desist demarche to the Vatican’s representative in Delhi, or derecognize the Vatican as a state altogether. No country is bound to recognize any religious organization as a state with sovereign rights in a secular world,” says the article. The magazine accuses the Church leaders of asking their people to vote against the National Democratic Alliance led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “They have thus pitched their tents fully in the opposition camp. This happened in December 2018, when a bunch of bishops, pastors and priests from many south Indian churches promised support to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s M K Stalin,” it says. “It is one thing for priests to articulate their own personal political preferences in private, quite another to misuse the pulpit to influence elections formally,” adds the article by Ragannathan, the magazine’s editorial director. While it justifies similar interference by various Indian religious leaders, it opposes the Church

Emergency medicine doctor Christo Thomas Philip was returning with his family to his native India from a medical conference in Greece when immigration officials at Delhi’s Indira Ghandi International Airport took him into custody. His deportation from India on that day, April 26, 2016, came after working for three years treating destitute people on the verge of death from snakebites, HIV, diphtheria, tuberculosis and heart failure, among other conditions, in Raxaul, a remote area of eastern India’s Bihar state. He was planning to return to his work there at the emergency care unit of Duncan Hospital. “My wife and children were allowed entry back into the country,” Philip, 36, told Morning Star News. “But as soon as my passport was scanned, I was surrounded by multiple Indian immigration officials, taken into custody and was informed that I had an hour to leave the country.” At age 10 Philip had migrated with his family to the United States, where he was educated. He had a life-time visa to India and an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card, but the immigration officials confiscated the card and his passport, telling him only that he was no longer welcome on orders of the Consulate General of India

The effigy is located in the parish of St. Joseph, a few kilometers from the archiepiscopal seat. The police open an investigation. For the bishop of Jhabua, not all hopes are lost: "More than 25 thousand people will participate in the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes". A statue of the Virgin Mary was set on fire in Madhya Pradesh, in the village of Ishgar, which falls under the diocese of Jhabua. This was reported by the Christian group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). Its president Sajan K George says that the fire "took place on 3 February last. The statue of Mary was found burnt in the grotto of the parish of St. Joseph, about 10 km away from the archbishop's house". The Christian community, he adds, "is very disturbed and its religious sentiment is deeply wounded". Fr Rockey Shah, spokesman for the diocese of Jhabua, announced that a complaint had been registered. "Investigations are under way. We presented a memorandum to the police officer and the collector. We have asked our people to pray for peace and harmony and not to react aggressively ". According to Sajan K George, the burning is a deep wound for the local Church. " The vulnerable

The report shows that since Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, the number of violent acts against India’s religious minorities have increased. (Photo: World Watch Monitor) A report by a religious freedom watchdog shows a dramatic increase in the number of attacks on Christians and Muslims in India in the last four years and “the situation … is at a tipping point”. The number of reported incidents in the first three months of 2018 was greater than the total number of attacks in the whole of the year 2014, according to the report “We’re Indians Too” by Open Doors. This year India entered for the first time the top 10 of the same organisation’s World Watch List, an index of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. The report’s incident analysis shows that since Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, the number of violent acts against Christians, Muslims and tribal Dalits (members of the India’s lowest caste) have increased. Most incidents were reported in the Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, followed by Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Jharkhand. The report identifies four “drivers” of persecution: “Hindutva ideology, Anti-conversion laws, the misuse of PESA law [The Panchayatiraj Extension to Scheduled Areas Act, 1996]

Days after Hindu extremists in northern India marched in protest to file a false claim against a Christian mother, her government employer transferred her to a district more than 100 miles away, sources said. Members of a Hindu-awakening movement in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh state on Wednesday (Feb. 13) staged a protest against conversions to Christianity that began at the headquarters of the Hindu Sanghatan, a coalition of Hindu extremist groups, and continued as they shouted angry slogans against Christians. Led by their district secretary, Sandeep Sachdeva, they marched to the Baddi police station and filed a complaint against Archana Jaiswal, a state education board employee and former Hindu who put her faith in Christ. The complaint alleges that Jaiswal offered money for Hindus to convert. In the complaint, boutique owner Sonu Devi claims that Jaiswal offered her 300,000 rupees (US$4,200) to convert to Christianity and pressured her to divorce her husband. Devi called for police to take action against Jaiswal, claiming she posed a threat to Hindu families. “I never converted anyone – who am I to tell anyone to convert?” Jaiswal told Morning Star News. “I am an ordinary person, I don’t preach or teach any religious teachings. I’m not a religious person.

The faithful were interrogated and later released. Far-right activists accused them of illegal gathering. Sajan K George: "In 2018 so many pastors were harassed. 2019 does not bode well ".  Police in Uttar Pradesh arrested and then released four Christians on charges of forced conversions. This was announced by Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), who denounced "the detention of Christians in Kasimaba, in the district of Gazipur". The incident occurred in recent days, but it was only reported today. The detainees are Sonu Kumar, Rakesh Maurya, Satnam and Shribaghwan aka Munna. The Christian leader said that the men were arrested on the false charge of conducting "forced conversions" in the village and organizing prayer meetings without permission. "They were placed in custody - he reports - while some rightwing activists accused them before the police of carrying out missionary activities". The police interrogated the Christians, then released them the same evening. The pastor who organized the gathering could not even show authorization to the agents. Sajan K George emphasizes that "Christians enjoy the constitutional right of worship and prayer. They were not doing anything illegal, nor did they disturb public order. " The president of the GCIC complains

A Catholic priest has been arrested on Jan. 15 on charges over the suicide of a teenage girl in Madhya Pradesh. Fr Prakash Damor of Jhabua Diocese was arrested more than a week after the schoolgirl was found hanging at her village home in Ranapur in MP, leaving a suicide note saying the 33-year-old priest forced her to change religion and marry him. Fr Rocky Shah, Diocesan spokesman told ucanews.com that the church officials believe the priest was framed and arrested for no fault of his own. "He will be exonerated in a court of law," he said. The non-Chrisitan teenage girl belongs to indigenous Damor community. The arrested priest also belongs to the same community. He came to the parish as its assistant vicar a year ago. The girl was a student in the 11th grade at a Catholic school in Jhabua district. She joined the school last year after completing her 10th grade at another church-run school in Ranapur parish, which covers her village. Police officer Kailash Chouhan said that the priest has been charged with the abetment of suicide and also under the stringent Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. Fr Julian Toppo, another diocesan priest, said that the allegations contradicted the Damor community's culture. "As

At least 98 Christians belonging to 23 tribal families have been "reconverted" to Hinduism in Tripura on Jan. 20, a far-right Hindu group claimed. Uttam Dey, president of the Hindu Jagran Manch, said that the people, mostly tea garden workers hailing from Bihar and Jharkhand, had been converted to Christianity in 2010. "It is as if the lost family members had returned home," Dey added, according to Hindustan Times. The session of "ghar wapsi" that indicates the "return home" to Hinduism happened in the district of Kailashahar, about 180 km from the capital Agartala. The mass conversion ceremony was sponsored by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Praising the ceremony in front of the press, Dey said, "They were Hindus, but were lured into Christianity after the Sonamukhi tea garden in Unakoti district, where they were working, was closed in 2010." One of the former Christians, Birsa Munda, said: "We are very poor people. Christians converted us. They often treat us badly. We have freely decided to reconvert ourselves to Hinduism ". However, experts claim that most of the conversions to Christianity occur among tribal groups that follow animist religions, not Hindus. Therefore ghar wapsi would not be justified. The alleged confirmations of the nationalist and of the former

A Christian in Chhattisgarh state, India who endured opposition for three years was killed on Feb. 12, a day after a convert who faced persecution in neighboring Odisha state was slain. In each case, villagers angry at the Christians for converting were said to have influenced Maoist guerrillas to kill the Christians. The Maoists, known as Naxalites, may have had other reasons for killing the two men, though they also opposed their new faith, sources said. In Kohkameta village, Chhattisgarh, about 30 Naxalites began by looting the shop of Munglu Ram Nureti and his wife Minka, said area church pastor Prem Sagar, who learned details from Nureti’s wife. The intruders then ordered Minka to call her husband, a father of five who had left the animist practices of his tribal fellows three years ago to follow Christ. The rebels also asked after Pastor Sagar, who had planned to be there but had stayed home due to leg pain. The Naxalites found Nureti, who had been eating dinner, tied his hands and walked him out of the house, according to police. Nureti repeatedly asked the reason for targeting him without receiving an answer. His 18-year-old daughter, Divya Nureti, tried to rescue him, but one of the

Where to find us

FIACONA

Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations Pray for a Persecuted Church
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWS UPDATES