Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) Pray for a Persecuted Church
 Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA)Pray for a Persecuted Church
   
Date  News 2021
   

Apr 29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jailed Indian Jesuit moves high court seeking bail
An elderly Indian Jesuit priest has approached Bombay High Court seeking his release on bail a month after a special court twice turned down his bail plea. Father Stan Swamy’s legal team on April 26 filed a bail application in the high court of Maharashtra state in western India, said Father A. Santhanam, a Jesuit who is monitoring the case. The latest move comes a month after a special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the federal anti-terror agency, denied the priest bail for a second time on March 22. Father Swamy was jailed on Oct. 9 last year, a day after the NIA arrested him on charges of sedition and links to a banned Maoist group. “He has been in prison for over 200 days. He approached the special court twice seeking his release on bail, but unfortunately his demands were rejected after the probe agency opposed it,” Father Santhanam told UCA News on April 29... Read More
   

Apr 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campaign Launched to Discredit Christian Groups in Nepal
In a ploy to revoke registration of Christian organizations and shrink their influence, Hindu extremists in Nepal have forged a document as if from Christian groups portraying them as seeking ethnic divisions to gain converts, sources said. The document falsely attributed to the Nepal Christian Society and the National Churches Fellowship of Nepal asserts that unless they can cause divisions in the upper-caste Brahmin and Chhetri communities, conversions to Christianity are not possible, said Mukunda Sharma, executive secretary of Nepal Christian Society. After the fabricated document went viral on social media, members of the Hindu nationalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) used it to demand that registrations of Christian charities be cancelled, Sharma said... Read More
   

Apr 20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Pastor Paraded, Injured, Forced into Hindu Ritual
Pastor Sanjay Bhandari had taken his wife for a medical check-up earlier this month when they decided to visit her sister in the same area in Karnataka state, southwest India – only to be attacked as they were drinking tea. “While we were still having tea, a few men barged inside the house and, grabbing me by my shirt collar, they dragged me outside, accusing me of carrying out conversions,” Pastor Bhandari told Morning Star News. “I tried very hard to explain that it was my relatives’ house, and that we were only paying them a casual visit, but the men refused to listen.” The Hindu extremists in Halaga village, near Belgaum city, Belgaum District also ignored the pleas of his wife’s family that day, April 5. The men took Pastor Bhandari outside, where 50 to 60 Hindu extremists were waiting, he said. The mob paraded him a mile to the rented worship hall... Read More
   

Apr 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

India gov’t allies pressure USCIRF to reverse effort to label nation a ‘CPC’ for tolerating religious persecution
Allies of the Indian government are working to pressure the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom to reverse its recommendation that the State Department label India as a “country of particular concern” for religious freedom violations, an activist warns. John Prabhudoss, the chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations, spoke at a panel event Wednesday to discuss “India’s Designation as CPC” hosted by International Christian Concern. The panel discussed the state of religious freedom in India and the need for the State Department to designate the world’s second-largest nation as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations. In recent years, Christians in India have faced escalating persecution that has seemingly coincided with the rise to power of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. Read More
   

Apr 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IIM Calcutta draft code seeks to gag dissent
IIM Calcutta has circulated among teachers a draft code of conduct that bars them from making any public criticism of any “current or recent policy or action” of the institute or the state and central governments. The board of governors, the highest decision-making body of the B-school, has drawn up the draft that bars the institute community from making “any communication to the press, in any public utterance, any statement of fact or opinion:- which has the effect of an adverse criticism of any current or recent policy or action of the institute”. The draft says, among other things, “no member of the institute community giving such evidence shall criticise the policy or any action of the Institute or the Central Government or any State Government”. Teachers have written back to the institute about their opposition to the draft, citing examples of universities... Read More
   

Apr 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christians Confined to Home by Police, Tribal Threats in India
A Christian family in eastern India has been confined to their home for months amid police threats to jail them for “breach of peace” after tribal mob assaults for leaving their native religion, sources said. The mob of tribal followers of native religion gathered police and news media to accompany them when they beat Christians in Jharkhand state’s Khala village, Garhwa District, earlier this year, said one of the attacked Christians, Asha Korwa, a mother of two young children. “The mob brought with them the village president, media and police officers,” said Korwa, whose children, ages 3 and 6, were beaten on Jan. 31 along with her and her husband. “As the media clicked our pictures and videotaped the attack, the police watched as mere spectators. They did not stop the assailants or the media.” Read More
   

Apr 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian arrested in India after saying Christ predicted in Hindu scriptures
An employee for the Archdiocese of Bhopal’s commission for education has been released on bail after his arrest for the “intentional insult” of the Hindu religion. Rajendra Dwivedi was arrested on Easter Sunday after he published articles on his blog claiming the salvation of Jesus had been revealed in the Vedas and Upanishads, religious texts in Hinduism. Although he works for a Catholic archdiocese, Dwivedi is a Protestant pastor and a convert to Christianity. Bhopal is the capital of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which recently passed a Religious Freedom Bill, which despite its name is an “anti-conversion” law aimed at keeping Hindus from joining other religions. “It is again a sign of religious intolerance … where the constitution values like freedom of expression and the right to propagate my own religion,” said Father Maria Stephen, the public relations officer for... Read More
   

Apr 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bail for Hindus accused of harassing Indian nuns
A court in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has granted bail to three Hindu activists accused of harassing two Catholic nuns and their students. Railway police arrested student leader Ajay Shankar Tiwari, Anchal Arjaria, president of Rashtra Bhakt Sangathan, and Purgesh Amaria, secretary of Hindu Jagran Manch, on April 2 in connection with the incident. They were granted bail on April 7 by Jhansi District Court and must attend another hearing on April 22.Two nuns of the indigenous Sacred Heart Congregation and two postulants were forced to get off a train in Jhansi on March 19 after the nuns were accused of conducting religious conversion. According to officials in Jhansi, they were detained after right-wing Hindu activists gave a written complaint that two women were being taken forcibly for religious conversion. Uttar Pradesh has a law that aims to curb religious conversions... Read More
   

Mar 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 2,500 people sign an appeal for Fr Stan Swamy’s release
More than 2,500 prominent Indians have signed an appeal criticising a court decision rejecting Fr Stan Swamy’s bail application. The 84-year-old Jesuit has been in prison since October in Mumbai on terrorism charges. Launched by fellow clergyman and human rights activist Fr Cedric Prakash, the open letter, which calls for Fr Stan’s immediate release, was signed by people from all walks of life: academics, artists, directors, economists, religious, journalists, lawyers, former public officials, and writers. “Rejection of the bail of an elderly and ailing person, with limited mobility and no history of violence against others, is beyond comprehension,” reads the letter. The text suggests that the charges are the result of doctored evidence, fake documents the National Investigation Agency says it found on Fr Stan’s computer, which he says are not his. The signatories also... Read More
   

Mar 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindu extremists surround and force two nuns and two novices off a train
On 19 March, two nuns from the Congregation of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart (pictured) were travelling by train with two postulants on holiday from their Delhi convent to Rouekela (Odisha). At the Jhansi station, a mob of 150 right-wing extremists from the Hindu Vahini group forced them off the train, accusing the Sisters of taking the two young women to convert them. The nuns called their congregation in Delhi and informed them about the incident on the train. Although the two young women showed their identity number and other proof that they were Christian, the extremists shouted Jaya Śrī Rāma, a Hindu nationalist slogan, and harassed the four women. At the Jhansi station, the railway police took them off the train. Read More
   

Mar 23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christians Seriously Injured in Mob Assault on House Church
A mob armed with axes and thick wooden batons in central India disrupted a home worship service and beat and threatened Christians for leaving their ancestral tribal religion this month, sources said. Eight Christians were injured and five of them hospitalized, including two women and a pastor who suffered head injuries and a dislocated shoulder, in the March 8 assault on a house church meeting in Surguda village, Bastar District in Chhattisgarh state, said the pastor, Samson Baghel of the Methodist Church. Methodist Church Pastor Baghel, who lives in a nearby village, and 20 other Christians from surrounding areas had come to the home of Jaggu Kashyap for the meeting with the only three Christian families who live in Surguda village. Five of the Christians attacked sustained head injuries... Read More
   

Mar 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Indian democracy turning into an electoral autocracy?
Two international reports recently have left Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government in India grieving and complaining that global organizations probably have an agenda against it. The complaining started after reputed agencies doubted if India is indeed a democracy. V-Dem Institute in Sweden has downgraded India’s status from a ‘democracy’ to ‘an electoral autocracy,' while another NGO, US-based Freedom House said "India’s status declined from 'Free' to 'Partly Free' as a nation due to a multiyear pattern in which the Hindu nationalist government and its allies have presided over rising violence and discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population." The Freedom House report made caustic and vitriolic comments on the status of Muslims in India under Modi, whose government led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is wedded to pro-Hindu political ideology of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism. Read More
   

Mar 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

'It Is Dangerous To Speak Up In India Today.' What the Resignations of 2 Academics Show About Freedom of Expression Under Modi
Two prominent academics stepped down from their positions at one of India’s most respected universities this week, shining a spotlight on the state of academic freedom and a widening crackdown on dissent under the Hindu nationalist ruling party. Pratap Bhanu Mehta resigned from his position as a professor of political science at Ashoka University near Delhi on Monday. In his letter of resignation, reproduced online Thursday, Mehta suggested that he had been forced to step down because of indirect pressure by the Indian government. In newspaper columns and academic work, Mehta had been critical of the majoritarianism of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Read More
   

Mar 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Mother of Three Beaten, Driven from Home in India
Homeless since relatives attacked her for failing to respect their tribal rituals last month, a Christian mother of three young children in eastern India sought help from police. The next morning, Feb. 10, an officer from Lesliganj police station in Jharkhand state’s Palamu District came to her village and accused her of disobeying the family elders and disrespecting their religious sentiments, said 26-year-old Mantu Devi, mother of children ages 7, 3 and 2 in Chapi village. “He told me that my father-in-law should have beaten me to death,” Devi told Morning Star News. “He told me that I am putting up a drama for Jesus Christ, warning me, ‘Why will you not bow before tribal deities? We will book you under stringent laws and send you to jail, only then will your mind start functioning properly. You will know your limits then.’” Devi told the officer that her relatives had threatened to behead her, and that she would not give up her faith at any cost... Read More
   

Mar 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anti-conversion law in India a ‘ready made tool’ to target Christians, priest says
India’s state Madhya Pradesh has passed a so-called “Freedom of Religion” bill, which increases the penalties for illegal inducements to change a person’s religion. The bill was passed on a voice vote by the state assembly on March 8, in a move supporters called a “gift for women” on International Women’s Day. Under the provisions of the act, a “forced” religious conversion could lead to a one-to-five year jail term and a minimum fine of around $350. If the person converted was a minor, the jail term and fine could be doubled. “This Act has the potential to create social disruption since it discriminates against and criminalizes interreligious marriages. In a multi-religious country like India..." Read More
   

Mar 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christians Falsely Charged in Central India, Sources Say

Two pastors and a friend falsely accused of fraudulent conversion in central India were released on bail last week after spending a month in jail, sources said. Hindu extremists in Madhya Pradesh state had pressured police to detain the friends at a private party based on a complaint of conversion by allurement at the gathering by someone who was not even present at the home where it took place, one of the pastors said. Based on a complaint by Baholi village resident Deepak Patle, police in Lalbarra, 16 miles from Balaghat, arrested from Bagholi the head of the family at whose home the event took place, Chattarsingh Katre, 46, pastor Mahendra Nagdeve, 48, and pastor U. Nathan. Patle accused them of trying to convert him and others by allurement at what he mistakenly described as a Christian meeting on Jan. 27. Read More

   

Mar 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radical Hindus attack Christian pastors in India
Six Christians including two pastors were attacked by a Hindu radical group at a birthday party in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. Some 25 Bajrang Dal religious hardliners entered a house where the Christians were celebrating the birthday of Pastor Sadashiv Raju’s son on March 1. “The Christians of Idga village in Chitradurga district were attacked when the Hindu group objected to the loud music coming from the Pentecostal pastor’s house,” Pastor Samuel Bhalekar of the evangelical Hindustani Covenant Church told UCA News. The Pentecostal pastors filed a first information report at the local police station. “It is very unfortunate that even after the complaint the police have not taken any action..." Read More
   

Mar 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police in India Allow Attack on Churches, then Arrest Christians
Armed Hindu extremists in Madhya Pradesh, India disrupted worship services at two churches on Feb. 7, beat congregation members and pressured police to arrest more than 20 Christians on suspicion of forcible conversion, sources said. Under a new anti-conversion ordinance that came into effect in the state on Jan. 9, Udaigarh police in Alirajpur District charged one of the two churches’ pastors with forcible conversion. Pastor Malsingh Meda and 21 members of his church in Bhamdakhapar village were arrested, as was pastor Dilipsingh Vasunia, who leads a church in Jambukheda village. Pastor Meda was released at 1 a.m. on Feb. 8, and Pastor Vasunia was charged with forcible conversion and obtained bail on Feb.10. Though police reached both villages before the Hindu extremist attacks on the worship services, they did nothing... Read More
   

Feb 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elderly Indian Jesuit's bail postponed amid concerns
A special court is set to pronounce its verdict on the bail application of an elderly Indian Jesuit activist five months after his arrest and detention on charges of sedition. The special court of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the federal anti-terror agency, has set March 2 to announce the result of the bail application of 84-year-old Father Stan Swamy. “We are happy that finally the court has fixed a date for announcing its order on the bail application,” said Father A. Santhanam, a Jesuit lawyer based in Tamil Nadu state who is following the case. Rights activists are concerned that the sick priest’s bail is being delayed for political reasons. He has been denied bail several times since he was arrested on Oct. 8 from his residence in Ranchi, capital of eastern India’s Jharkhand state, and detained in a jail in Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra state. Father Swamy applied for regular bail on Nov. 26 after his first bail application on health grounds in the same court was turned down... Read More
   

Feb 17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Forum expresses anguish over Daman administration’s anti-secular circular
The United Christian Forum has urged the administration and the Directorate of Education of Daman to immediately withdraw a circular making veneration of goddess Saraswati compulsory in all schools under the Union Territory in western India. “The Christian community in Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu are at pain and in anguish with the directive of Directorate of Education, Daman, for making the celebration of Vasant Panchami mandatory by venerating Goddess Saraswati,” the forum, an ecumenical body said in a statement. The Vasanth Panchami, also called Saraswati Puja, fell on February 16 this year. The festival marks the preparation for the arrival of spring. It also marks the start of preparation for Holika and Holi, which take place forty days later. The Vasant Utsava (festival) on Panchami is celebrated forty days before Spring. Read More
   

Feb 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

28, mostly Christians, booked under MP’s anti-conversion ordinance
Chhatar Singh Katre, a teacher in a small village school run by the government in Madhya Pradesh’s Balaghat district organized a get-together and a prayer meet on January 27. The occasion, his daughter said, was to celebrate her college admission. Before the program started, the police reached the spot, and detained Katre, and his friends Mahendra Nagdeva J Nathan; all three were taken to the police station for interrogation, and subsequently arrested for luring and coercing people for conversion. All three remain in jail, their bail pleas having been rejected by the Balaghat sessions court. Katre’s daughter Kalyani Katre said, “My father organized the meet for me and now he is in jail for no reason. The case was registered against him and two others on the complaint of a person who was booked 10 years ago for assaulting and harassing my father and others for participating in a religious program.” Read More
 

 

Feb 9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charges Fabricated against Pastor, Others after Assault, Sources Say

Police in southern India have filed false charges against a church pastor after tribal animists assaulted him for his faith so severely that he was hospitalized for two days, sources said. The pastor and three others face a range of fabricated charges such as causing hurt and, in the pastor’s case, sexual harassment, filed in retaliation for his reporting a Jan. 3 assault on him by a mob of about 20 tribal animists in Abbigeri village, Koppal District, Karnataka state, sources said. “It appears the police came under pressure after the assailants got to know about the cases filed against them,” Shyam Sundar, an attorney representing the pastor told Morning Star News. “As a counterblast, they filed a petition with the same contents filed by Christians against them, alleging that Pastor Lamani assaulted a woman and that his wife and the other believers also have insulted the Banjara community members.” Read More

   

Feb 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pregnant Christian Woman Loses Baby after Hindu Extremist Attack
Leela Bai, eight months pregnant, rushed outside a house she was visiting in central India after hearing the commotion of a Hindu extremist mob attacking tribal Christians preparing to celebrate the New Year. The mob pushed her down and kicked her stomach until she fell unconscious, and later that evening she miscarried on the way to a hospital – which declined to give her any care, she said. Scores of tribal Christians planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve with a thanksgiving service instead spent the night in the mountains where they had fled to save their lives. “My baby died in my womb after they pushed me down and kicked my stomach,” the 25-year-old Bai said as she wept. Read More
   

Feb 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian tribal families caned for embracing Christianity
A village court in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has ordered families who converted to Christianity to be caned, fined and excommunicated from the community. hree Korwa tribal families from Khala village of Dhurki in Garhwa district embraced Christianity on Jan. 22, according to media reports. “There are reports of religious conversion in the area but they are of different denominations as a few small sects are active there. It is a matter of investigation and it should be thoroughly checked as it may give wrong messages among different faiths,” Father Augustin Xess, parish priest of St. Paul’s Church in Garhwa, told UCA News. “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, we don’t promote religious conversion.” Read More
   

Feb 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindu fanatics attack Christian pastor in southern India
Police in the southern Indian state of Telangana have arrested two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers for assaulting a pastor accused of carrying out religious conversions. Pastor Chandra Mouli of the Jerusalem Church in Hasthinapuram, Vanasthalipuram, was attacked when he visited the house of church member Jayamma on Jan. 28, police official K. Murali Mohan said. One of Jayamma's family members was sick, so the pastor had gone there to lead prayers. “Lately we have been witnessing regular attacks against Christians in the state, which is very dangerous for a secular society like India. We have to address this issue or else we may face big problems in the future,” Pastor Samuel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth Ministries told UCA News. “We have to be careful about fanatic groups who are trying to create hatred among different faiths by dividing people in the name of caste, creed and religion and trying to push their propaganda. Read More
   

Jan 27

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madhya Pradesh, Hindutva groups attack a Pentecostal prayer meeting
A crowd of Hindutva members attacked the prayer meeting of a Pentecostal community in the Satprakashan Sanchar Kendra Center (Center for the light of truth) for allegedly illegal conversions. Fr. Babu Joseph, SVD, and the bishop of the diocese of Bophal, Msgr. Leo Cornelius denounced the violent action for violation of private property. But above all - they say - "it is time to ask ourselves what value and usefulness" the anti-conversion laws have in society and this type of reaction of Hindu fundamentalists, capable only of "creating chaos". Yesterday, Indian Republic Day, a group of 90 Pentecostals were holding a prayer meeting in the downtown lobby. In a nearby school, a meeting was being held between Hindu groups. Some of these, hearing the songs and prayers, approached the building. A crowd immediately gathered and entered the centre shouting anti-Christian slogans and denouncing conversion activities. Madhya Pradesh is one of the Indian states with a law against forced conversions. Fundamentalist Hindu groups want to spread the Hindutva culture everywhere... Read More
   

Jan 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police Join Attack on Christians, File False Charges, Sources Say
Police who did nothing to stop a fierce attack on a church service in Uttar Pradesh, India also beat and threatened the Christians while arresting them under false accusations of fraudulent conversions, sources said. A mob of 15 to 20 Hindu extremists earlier this month assaulted men, women and children of Heavenly Gospel Mission Church in Shahjahanpur District, with some saying, “We will continue to hit you until you abuse and curse Jesus,” church members said. After beating the seven men of the congregation with wooden batons and the 10 women and 10 children with the church chairs, they dragged four Christians and the Hindu owner of the rented building outside and threatened to kill them as they further assaulted them near parked police cars with officers who did nothing to stop them, according to a Christian identified only as Rajat in a video on social media. Read More
   

Jan 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindu fanatics raze Protestant church in southern India
An under-construction Protestant church in the southern Indian state of Telangana was demolished by a mob of radical Hindus on Jan. 20.
Gethsemane Prardana Mandiram (church) in Mahabubabad was attacked by a group of Hindu fanatics headed by a leader named Bura Venakanna, said Pastor Muhammad Afzal Paul.
“Local Christians believe that the main reason for the attack is that there are around 80 churches of different denominations in a radius of 10 kilometers, which the Bajrang Dal [a radical Hindu group] could not accept,” Pastor Levi of the Power of Jesus Fellowship, a Protestant church, told UCA News.
“The local administration has stationed some police officers at the church attack site and it is under investigation. The church is very small with about 100 members. Read More
   

Jan 25

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jailed Indian Jesuit pens letter on prisoners' plight
Detained elderly Indian Jesuit Stan Swamy has marked his 100 days in prison with a letter highlighting the cases of poor people languishing in jail who begin their trials without even knowing their criminal charges.
In his letter to Jesuit colleagues, the 84-year-old priest also expressed gratitude for the "overwhelming" solidarity of his supporters as he completed 100 days in prison on Jan. 15.
Father Swamy has been detained in Taloja Central Prison in Mumbai, capital of Maharashtra state, since Oct. 9. The human rights activist priest is charged with sedition and having links with outlawed Maoist rebels.
Along with Father Swamy, 15 other activists were arrested and jailed at different times for their alleged involvement in a violent incident in Bhima Koregaon on Jan. 1, 2018, in which one person died and five were injured.
As he completed 100 days in jail, rights groups across India organized peaceful candlelight marches, processions and webinars to mark his and other activists' incarceration. Read More
   

Jan 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shut down all churches in India's tribal areas, Hindu group demands.
A right-wing Hindu group has demanded an immediate shutdown of all churches built in tribal areas of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh and action against Christian priests and pastors involved in alleged religious conversion.
However, church leaders denied the conversion allegations and termed the demands an attempt to terrorize and defame them by taking advantage of the newly enacted anti-conversion law in the state.
Azad Prem Singh, a local leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or World Hindu Council, said that in the past 70 years Christian missionaries had converted "gullible indigenous people into Christianity and built churches specifically on protected tribal land." Read More
   

Jan 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindu Nationalists Incite Animists to Attack Christians in India
Six Christian families were worshipping in a wood-and-hay structure in eastern India last month when an influential man of wealth wielding an axe led others in and, in coarse language, asked why they had abandoned their tribal religion.
Elder Burjo Tadinji of the church in Odisha state’s Chichima village, answered, “We have known the true living God; we will not leave him. We used to indulge in fights and speak lies, but we do not do all that now. We like this faith, and that is why we follow it.”
Outraged, the leader of the mob of 20-25 men from three different villages began swinging the axe on the church structure, according to pastor Bibudhan Pradhan, who normally leads the small congregation of 15 but was absent that day (Dec. 13).
“They manhandled the Christians, damaged [an adjacent] Christian home, and broke the thatched structure with the axe,” Pastor Pradhan, 48, told Morning Star News. “They threatened to chase them out of their homes and the village if they reported the matter to the police.” Read More
   

Jan 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pressure Increases on Indian Christian Community as Prayer Meetings Come Under Police Scrutiny
Indian police in Shahjahanpur district, Uttar Pradesh state, have been instructed to keep a watch on prayer meetings after five Christians were accused of trying to “unlawfully” convert people to Christianity.
The order was issued by a regional police superintendent after five Christians were brought to authorities by members of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a hard-line Hindu group.
The Christians allegedly violated the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, which came into force in November 2020. The new anti-conversion law prohibits “conversion of religion through: force, misrepresentation, undue influence, and allurement, or fraud, or marriage”. It also prohibits “abetting, convincing, and conspiring to such conversions”.
The instructions given to police stations were to be aware of prayer meetings in their area and to “act strictly when they are completely sure that conversion is taking place in the garb of prayer”. Read More
   

Jan 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archbishop Machado: Many are challenging the anti-conversion law
Last Sunday, a gang of Bajrang Dal men attacked a Christian clergyman in Shahjahanpur, a district in the State of Uttar Pradesh, during a prayer meeting.
According to The Hindu newspaper, Rev David, who hails from Tirunelveli in Kerala and a group of local people, including women and children, had gathered in a garden for prayer to mark the first Sunday of the New Year when men stormed the premises and disrupted the activity.
After the Bajrang Dal members filed a complaint, local police charged the pastor and four others under the new anti-conversion law.
“This is a special ordinance,” said Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, but “there is a groundswell of public opinion against it. “Legal luminaries, eminent intellectuals, are questioning the legal validity of this ordinance, which touches the core of the constitution”, Read More
   

Jan 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police on alert after conversion claim in Indian state
Police in an Indian state have directed officers to keep a watch on prayer gatherings after five Christians were arrested on a charge of religious conversion.
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a hardline Hindu group, handed the five Christians to police in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh state, which is run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“It is just an allegation from the fanatic groups and if they are sure about it, let them prove it. People are free to express their views in a democratic country,” Father Harold D' Cunha, vicar general of Bareilly Diocese, told UCA News.
“As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, it does not promote or propagate religious conversion in the diocese as well as in the country.
“Occasionally, these groups blame us for conversions, but until now there is no record of any religious conversion where the Church is involved.”
He said the Church is engaged in many charitable works... Read More
   

 

 

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