Maharashtra: Rise in anti-Christian fundamentalism

June 18, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Rise in anti-Christian fundamentalismMumbai, June 14, 2013: Christian families have been chased out of their villages; plans for church construction have been blocked; places of worship and prayer assemblies have been attacked in some parts of Maharashtra, one of India’s richest and most advanced states, home to cosmopolitan Mumbai, the country’s financial capital.

This is “a growing and worrying trend,” the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told AsiaNews, especially in the past two months. Over this period, more and more Christian groups have called for help, especially in Yavatmal District, which has become a target for local Hindus. This is surprising because anti-Christian and anti-Catholic attacks in the state have been rare.

One of the most affected places is the village of Pandahrewani. About two months ago, Hindu residents forbade local Christians from practicing their religion, stopped them from building a small church, and told them to leave the village. Witnesses told the GCIC that local Hindu fundamentalists are stirring the flames of religious hatred.

In one case, Hindu militants filed a complaint with the local police against a Christian man, Suresh Athram, who had tried several times to build a home. They also assaulted his wife.

Although police tried to settle the dispute by bringing the parties together to find a compromise, they failed.

On 25 April, during the Hindu festival of Hanuman Jayanthi, a mob of hundreds of Hindus stormed a local Church. After devastating the building, they filled it with Hindu idols and conducted a ceremony out of contempt for the place.

On 6 June, a Hindu man, Bapurai Dhadange led a group of 20 people in order to seize Christian-owned land. Christians reacted by filing a complaint with police, which turned them away.

However, when the attackers filed a counterclaim against the Christians, accusing them of forced conversions, police told the Christians to pay up to avoid arrest.

– asianews

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