Atrocities against Christians galore

Kerala, Uttarakhand, Orissa, Karnataka, U.P.

Church Burned in Kerala

Miscreants on 23 March burned St Mary’s Malankar Church and completely destroyed the holy attire and other belongings in Poddivatuvialla, Kerala. The Fire Force put out the fire. Police investigation is underway.

Christians attacked in Uttarakhand
On 28 March in Phullaiya, Khatima, Uttarakhand, about 30 Hindu extremists barged into the Believer’s Church’s inaugural meeting of its Community Development Programme, accused the Christians of forceful conversion and beat them. According to reports, at about 11 a.m. the extremists barged into the meeting, accused the local pastor, Father Anoop Jena, and three other Christians, Mohan Babu, Rohit George and Danny, of luring people to convert to Christianity by their social activities and started beating them up. The four Christians sustained bruises all over their bodies. The extremists later lodged a police complaint against the Christians of forceful conversion. Police at about 12 o’clock arrived at the spot and took Father Anoop Jena and three believers to the police station for questioning. After the intervention of local Christian leaders, the Christians were released in the evening without charges.

14 Christians arrested in Orissa

Orissa police arrested 14 Christians on 29 March on the basis of the complaint lodged against them for forceful conversion in Orissa’s Mayurbhanj district. EFI correspondent reported that the arrests came after a police complaint was filed against two pastors, Samuel Mohapathra and Manuel Mohapatra and 12 new Christian converts for converting to Christianity without official intimation to district magistrate. Subsequently, the Christians were arrested under Orissa Freedom of Religious Act, 1967. The act penalises any person who converts without intimation to the local authorities. The Christians were produced in a court and they were released on bail the same day.

Christians assaulted in Coorg

Karnataka police arrested four Christians after Hindu extremists attacked them on 26 March in Devasthur Kaloor, Coorg district.  EFI correspondent Rev Noel Kotian reported that evangelist, A J Diwakar and three women identified only as Telsi, Savitha and Agnes from Christ Fellowship Church went to Deavathur village to distribute gospel tracts when some Hindu extremists snatched their gospel tracts and questioned them on their activities. Soon, the extremists swelled up and surrounded the Christians and started verbally abusing them for their faith. They repeatedly slapped, kicked and punched the Christians while some spat on them. It was reported that evangelist Diwakar was tied up on a tree while he was attacked in this manner.

Police came to the site and took the Christians to the Madikeri Rural Police Station and charge-sheeted them under sections - 295 (A), 506, 447, and 448. The Christians were sent to Madikeri jail after they appeared before the Magistrate.

Christians assaulted in U.P.

On 20 March in Lonianpurawa, Balrampur District of Uttar Pradesh, an angry mob of 60 Hindu extremists barged into the worship meeting of Indian Evangelical Mission’s Healing Church, verbally abused the Christians and beat them up. The incident took place earlier on 13 March when some Hindu extremists opposed the worship meetings of Indian Evangelical Mission’s Healing Church’s conducted by Christian convert Gudgi Verma and his wife Saroja Verma. It was alleged that the local MLA, Gorakhnath Baba sent about 25 extremists to threaten the Christians with dire consequences if they conduct future worship meetings. Again on 16 March, the MLA and 50 extremists went to the church and urged the couple to stop all Christian worship meetings, ordered them to put back Hindu idols in their house, give offerings to the temple and observe all Hindu festivals.

On March 20, Evangelist Abhay Kumarand Keshov Parsad went to Lonianpurawa to conduct Sunday worship meeting with Verma in The Healing Church. Amid the worship service, about 70 extremists suddenly barged in, verbally abused the Christians for their faith and beat them up. About four church members were badly bruised. The situation in the area was reported as tense and local Christians are praying so that they can resume their regular Sunday worship meetings.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 April 2011 on page no. 4

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