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Sixteen pastors have been falsely accused of disturbing the peace because they met with an official regarding the case of another pastor who had also been charged with “disturbing peace” after radical Hindu nationalists attacked his church. Police filed a case against the 16 pastors on Nov. 13, the day they went to the local magistrate’s office in the southern Indian state of Karnataka for peace talks on behalf of the Christian community and Pastor Chandrakanth, who had been told to appear before the official that day, according to the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern which didn't disclose the exact location. On Nov. 7, about 40 radical Hindu nationalists had attacked Pastor Chandrakanth and his congregation during a worship service. After the mob stormed the worship hall, church members formed a human barrier between their pastor and the radical Hindus. “The congregation stood before me as a human fence,” the pastor was quoted as saying. “Otherwise, they would have killed me. The radicals want to wipe out Christianity from this area and they think it is easy under the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government, presently ruling the state.” However, after the police arrived on the scene, they filed a case against Pastor Chandrakanth,

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,

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

Read the original full article in FRONTLINE INDIA here. The Following is excerpts from the original article published in FRONTLINE Magazine: According to data available with the United Christian Forum (UCF) helpline, 305 such incidents have been reported this year in India. Uttar Pradesh fares the worst, with cases reported from cities and towns as diverse as Varanasi, the Prime Minister’s constituency, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Noida, Ayodhya, Rampur, Bahraich and Lakhimpur Kheri. The most recent of these attacks have been in Mau district in Uttar Pradesh and Roorkee in Uttarakhand. Said the activist John Dayal: “The common factor in Uttar Pradesh is that the anti-conversion law for Muslims includes Christians too. People come to churches wielding lathis, accompanied by a local photographer and videographer and often by the police. They disrupt the prayer service, beat up the pastor, and if it is in a building, they attack the building, desecrate the Bible, etc. As in Roorkee. The police are almost always mute witnesses although in Roorkee they did take action because the local people also acted. Even if the police register a case against the Bajrang Dal or the Hindutva brigade, a case is also filed against the victims, including pastors. The victim is

An excerpt from ‘Modi’s India: Hindu Nationalism and the Rise of Ethnic Democracy’ published on Scroll.in. To read this article in SCROLL.IN where it was originally published please click here. In March 2018, investigative reporters revealed the existence of a committee tasked by the culture minister, Mahesh Sharma, to revise India’s history. This fourteen-member committee (including archaeologists, bureaucrats, and ideologues) was commissioned by the minister to produce a “holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12,000 years before present and its interface with other cultures of the world.” The idea that the age of Hindu civilisation is three or four times greater than what has been established by contemporary historiography aimed to achieve two explicit goals. First, it was coupled with the persistent effort by Hindu nationalists to present their mythology as history. Mahesh Sharma himself told Reuters: “I worship Ramayana and I think it is a historical document.” And he added, in keeping with the tried-and-true method of strategic emulation, “If the Koran and Bible are considered as part of history, then what is the problem in accepting our Hindu religious texts as the history of India?” Second, uncovering evidence from ancient history aimed “to prove that today’s

Catholic leaders have hailed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement to repeal three controversial farm laws that forced farmers to stage one of the country’s longest public protests in which close to 700 farmers died. “It is a really a very welcome decision in the interests of farmers and the nation as a whole,” said Bishop Alex Vadakumthala, chairman of the office of labor of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). Modi made his surprise announcement on Nov. 19 on the birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion. Many Punjabi farmers are Sikhs. The PM said the laws were enacted for the welfare of the farmers but added: “We haven’t been able to explain to our farmers. This is not a time to blame anyone.” Modi’s announcement came as farmers were planning to intensify their protest from Nov. 26 to mark the anniversary of their protest. Farmers from the northern state of Punjab launched the protest against the laws — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act — last November The farmers have since protested in New Delhi even after police blocked

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

11/15/2021 - The Jesuit clergyman, who died in Mumbai after nine months in detention, wrote a scathing article against the Indian government’s policy of auctioning off 41 coal mines to private interests. India’s coal is front-page news in the wake of COP26 in Glasgow. Fr Stan Swamy was a prophetic voice when he spoke about coal mines in India, an issue that is front-page news around the world. That voice was first silenced with prison, then extinguished at the age of 83 when he died last July from the consequences of his detention. One of the issues that led to Fr Swamy’s judicial persecution was his criticism of the central government’s decision to auction off coal mines violating the rights of tribal communities to whom the Indian Jesuit had dedicated his life. The issue is timely. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, better known as COP26, wrapped up on Saturday with a compromise among the countries that signed the Paris Agreement. India’s demand to keep using coal was one of the main issues on the table. The new agreement is worded in such a way that it refers to phasing down coal rather than phasing it out. In India, coal has both

Father Bartholomis Minj is approaching the high court to avoid arrest for Uttar Pradesh incident A Catholic priest who tried to help two nuns illegally detained in last month’s Mau incident reported from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is planning to approach the high court to save himself from likely arrest. “I am planning to move the state’s top court to discharge me from the case I was not involved in any way,” Norbertine Father Bartholomis Minj said, referring to the alleged violation of the anti-conversion law in Mau for which police took several Christians into custody following a complaint by a pro-Hindu group on Oct. 10. Sisters Gracy Monteiro and Roshni Minj of the Ursuline Franciscan congregation were at the local bus stop when they were accosted by Hindu activists and forcibly taken to the police station on suspicion they were part of a Protestant group suspected to be involved in religious conversion. Donate to UCA News with a small contribution of your choice Father Minj rushed to the police station after learning about the nuns' illegal detention. “When asked, I told the officers that I was principal of St. Joseph School and left the place after meeting the nuns,” he told

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