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Hindu activists have disrupted Sunday prayer services in two Indian states alleging forced religious conversions that were denied by Christians. The first incident was reported on Nov. 7 from the southern state of Karnataka, where members of the Sri Ram Sene (Ram’s army) barged into a Christian prayer hall in Maratha Colony in Belgavi (formerly Belgaum) and locked in the devotees. Police had to rush to open doors of the locked-up hall and asked those inside to go home. Sene members alleged that Pastor Lema Cherian was converting poor Hindus to Christianity by organizing prayer services. Pastor Cherian denied the allegation. “We have been organizing prayer services every Sunday and all are free to join,” he said. He said that the local police were informed about the Sunday meeting and nobody was forced to attend it. “We are free to practice any faith of our choice and it is our fundamental right. No one can infringe upon it,” the pastor added. But Assistant Commissioner of Police Ajjol Chandrappa told media that a Hindu man who attended the prayer service had filed a complaint alleging conversion. The police were verifying the facts and may register a case, he said. Sene leader Ravi Kumar Kotikar alleged that pastors from

Radicals Use Extreme Violence to Make Village “Christian-Free” 11/08/2021 – International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that a Christian community in India’s Chhattisgarh state was brutally attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists over the weekend. The attack left nine Christians seriously injured, including three who are currently hospitalized in critical condition. On Saturday, November 6, a mob of 50 radical Hindu nationalists attacked 14 Christian homes in Metapal village, located in the Dantewada district. Local Christians report that the mob was led by four men named Joga, Lakhma, Magda, and Sukka. The mob went from house to house, attacking Christians to make Metapal a “Christian-free” village. Wielding fists, wooden clubs, and other objects, the extremists beat the Christians of Metapal, including women and children. The attack left nine Christians seriously injured with broken bones, dislocated joints, and head injuries. “Santu, a teenage boy, was carried by four people to the hospital like a dead body,” Pastor Susheel Kumar, a survivor of the attack, told ICC. “He suffered multiple fractures to his legs and hand.” Following the attack, Mogadi Madkami, Santu Madkami, and Hidma Podiyami were taken to Dantewada District Hospital where they remain in critical condition. Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR

11/08/2021- India. (FIACONA News Service) The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) has learned from witnesses that a group of 20 Hindu nationalists barged into Pastor Anjeet's house in the northern Indian state of Utter Pradesh on November 5th around 11 PM and started attacking his wife and children rods and whips accusing them of forcefully converting people to Christianity. The incident took place in Ambedkar Nagar about 350 Kilometers (270 Miles) east of New Delhi, near Shajahanpur in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Victims were seriously injured. Friends and some neighbors rushed the family members to a local hospital. According to the sources, this is not the first time, Pastor Anjeet's family was attacked. The same Hindu nationalists have reportedly abused and assaulted the Pastor and his family in the past. But it was mostly threats and minor physical assaults but no serious injuries. The pastor has reported such assaults but no action was taken against the Hindu nationalist groups. Several hundred such cases of violence have been reported in the state of UP so far in 2021 alone. Out that over 80 cases have been documented. In many cases, the police have filed charges against

November 5, 2021 - In a village in Bijapur district, extremists Christians forced to perform a religious ritual in order not to lose homes and property. Local law does not consider a “return” to the “ancestral” religion as conversion, even when involving members of tribal who were never Hindus. Christians in Jaitaloor, a village in Bijapur district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, were forced to "return" to Hinduism. To achieve this goal, Hindu extremists shaved their heads and put coconuts in their hands as part of a Hindu religious ritual. Such acts were accompanied by the threat of seizing land, homes and properties owned by Christians and having them denied access to publicly owned forest land if they did not comply. “This is a barbaric act and an evident forced conversion," said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking to AsiaNews. This, George explained, is “A violation of the fundamental right to religious freedom and respect for the dignity of every person”. It is “also a way to publicly humiliate, mock and insult Christians, whose daily life is constantly in the crosshairs of right-wing extremist nationalist groups.” What is more, it “is not an isolated incident. Christians in Chhattisgarh live

11/04/2021- On November 2, two pastors were ruthlessly beaten by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists in India’s Chhattisgarh state. According to local reports, the radicals disrupted a prayer meeting, beat the two pastors, burned Bibles, and demanded the Christians stop holding worship services in the village. Local sources report that the attack started around 4 p.m. when a mob led by Rajnikanth Devaghan and Nilambari Sahu disrupted a prayer meeting taking place in Biler village, located in the Dhamteri District. The mob dragged Pastor Sasharath Maanikpuri and Pastor Kesar Manikpuri from the house where the prayer meeting was taking place, verbally abused them, and beat them. The mob then confiscated Bibles and other Christian texts from the pastors and the congregation and burned them in the street outside of the building where the prayer meeting was taking place. The radicals told the Christians to turn back to Hinduism and threatened that if they continued to hold worship services, they would be killed. One nationalist even told the Christians that they were not allowed to read the Bible, or any other book related to the Christian faith. Attacks on Christians and their placed of worship in India have continued to increase both in

Social media memes have captured the common mind more than the carefully clicked formal photographs showing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing Pope Francis when the two met in the Vatican for a 55-minute meeting last week. The prime minister’s office and the captive media are hoping the photographs will portray the warmth of the Catholic pontiff for the visiting Indian premier, who is projected as the “Hindu Hridaya Samrat” or “Emperor who rules the heart of [Hindu] Indians.” The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in turn hopes the half a dozen colorful pictures will help sway Christian votes in the elections early next year to the state assemblies of Goa on the west coast and Manipur in the northeastern hills. Alas, the first of the two most viral memes splices an old photograph of Adolf Hitler with Pope Pius XII with the Modi-Francis visual, while the second shows the Indian premier in the vestments and mitre of a Catholic bishop. No captions were needed. In multilingual India, civil society activists wanted them to reach out far and wide. Other than in Kerala, whose hierarchy had been in the lead in failed negotiations over six years for a papal visit to India, the meeting

Groups oppose adverts that question orthodox traditions or refer to religious minorities India's biggest festive season is in full swing but top brands are under pressure from right-wing hardliners accusing them of hurting Hindu sentiments. Critics say an atmosphere of growing religious intolerance and fear since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014 is behind the rise in social media vitriol and physical attacks on minority groups. Clothes and furniture retailer FabIndia and wellness firm Dabur had to pull adverts in the busy shopping period ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights later this week. Household name FabIndia triggered a storm of abuse online for using an Urdu term, "Jash-e-Rivaaz" ("celebration of tradition"), to describe its latest festive collection. Urdu is one of India's 22 official languages but uses a Persian-Arabic script and is considered a "Muslim language". While Urdu originated in India, which is home to nearly 200 million Muslims, it is also the national language of bitter rival Pakistan. Many devout Hindus believe it should not be used for their rituals and festivals. Others were outraged that women featured in the advert were not wearing a bindi, a decorative design with religious significance often adorned by Hindu women on their

HYDERABAD, India (Morning Star News) – Pastor Raj Masih and his three children have not been able to return home to their village in eastern India since Sept. 28, when Hindu extremists attacked him. “I returned home bruised that night. My children saw me and were frightened,” Pastor Masih told Morning Star News. “Since we lost my wife to COVID-19 in April this year, I am all they have.” The 36-year-old pastor was at a market about half a mile from his home in Simri village, Bihar state when about 25 Hindu extremists surrounded him. After taking him away from onlookers, they told him to stop leading worship services as they kicked and punched him, he said. “For the first time in the nine years of ministry in Simri, I took this extreme step of taking a break from Lord’s work there,” Masih told Morning Star News. “My children, ages 12, 9 and 7, have missed their school for more than a month now, but I thought it is enough if I am alive for them. I need to care and provide for them.” Pastor Masih said the assailants seized him by his clothes and forced him out of the market where he was

Q&A: ‘Religious freedom conditions in India greatly concerning’ Al Jazeera speaks to US Commission on International Religious Freedom chair Nadine Maenza on deteriorating religious freedom in India and how Biden administration should address it. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Nadine Maenza [Courtesy: USCIRF] 28 Oct 2021 Boston, United States – In April this year, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent, bipartisan federal government commission, recommended India be placed on a religious freedom blacklist for the second year in a row. In its annual report for 2021 (PDF), the commission, which makes religious freedom and foreign policy recommendations to the US president, the US Congress, and the Department of State, called for India, the world’s largest democracy, to be designated as a “country of particular concern” (CPC) for “egregious religious freedom violations”. Hate campaign in India against Urdu for being a ‘Muslim’ language Kashmir students who cheered for Pakistan booked under terror law ‘To dehumanise, terrorise us’: Muslims evicted in India’s Assam ‘Shown their place’: Muslim livelihoods under attack in India India shares the CPC list with 14 other countries, which include Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, Myanmar, Eritrea, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Syria, Russia, Vietnam and Turkmenistan. The report also recommended

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