Police arrested five Christians on March 25 in Dhanegaon, Chhinwara, after Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh attacked them and accused them of forceful conversion. A source told World Watch Monitor the extremists barged into the Sunday worship service of Bharatiya Pratna Bhawan (India Prayer Hall), beat pastor Harichand Varti and church members Santaram Parteti and Mayram Padame, and dragged them to the police station. Pastor Varti’s back was seriously injured, and his hands were cut, the source said. Senior Pastor Rajkumar Narad rushed to the police station to file a complaint, but police took him into custody and later also charged Pastor Varti and two church members with “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.” At press time area Christian leaders were taking steps to get them out on bail.
West Bengal – State police arrested seven Christians on March 15 in Asansol, Branpur after anti-Christian elements attacked them. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that the opponents of Christianity suddenly surrounded five pastors – Weleston Kisku, Animesh Das, Nripen Das, Satyanarayan Soren and Rajesh Das – and two unidentified Christians as they distributed gospel tracts and verbally and physically mistreated them. Police took the seven Christians to the station and later released them without charges. Soon a group of Kora tribal people filed a police complaint against the Christians of forceful conversion and luring people to Christianity by offering food and clothes, according to the EFI. Police summoned the Christians back and charged them with promoting enmity and hurting religious feelings. The next day, a judge rejected their appeal for bail and sent them to the Dulal Mandal jail, where they remained at press time.
Madhya Pradesh – Police in Jabalpur detained eight Korean Christians on March 15 after Hindu extremists filed a complaint against them of luring people to convert to Christianity. A source reported that Hindu extremists from the Dharma Sena (Religious Army) also accused them of distributing pamphlets with objectionable materials in them and took the Christians to Adhartal police station. Hindu extremist leader Arvind Baba complained that the Koreans were offering huge sums of money to people to convert to Christianity. The Koreans denied the accusations. After police investigated, the Christians were released without charges.
New Delhi – Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal on March 12 attacked a prayer meeting in Kalkaji, New Delhi and made false allegations that Christians were desecrating idols and making insulting remarks about their gods and goddesses, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). Jagdish Dey of the Apostolic Faith Church (AFC) was leading a prayer meeting at the residence of a church member attended by six women and a few children when the extremists stood at the door of the house and started taking photographs, according to the EFI. After the final prayer, the extremists forcefully entered the house and dragged Dey out to the street, where about 30 armed extremists waited to beat him, but the women kept Dey from them. Police arrived and took Dey into custody, where area AFC pastor Bobby Chellappan and the Rev. Jobby Prasannan soon arrived, as did 50 Hindu extremists who threatened to hurt the Christians and pressured police into forcing Dey to promise to stop the prayer meetings. “It was a false allegation against us – we do not talk about other people’s religion, nor teach people to talk ill against any other faith,” Chellappan told the EFI. The Hindu extremists have also kept the Christians from using the public water pump and have pressured landlords to evict them, Prasannan told the EFI. In a similar incident the next day, the extremists disrupted a women’s prayer meeting led by another AFC pastor, Blessy Bobby, and ordered the Christians to cease the meeting or face harm, according to the EFI.
Madhya Pradesh – State police on March 11 arrested a pastor and another Christian after Hindu extremists disrupted their Sunday worship in Multai, Betul district. The Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that extremists from the Bajrang Dal stormed the house church, stopped worship and accused pastor Motilal Gujare of forceful conversion. Pastor Gujare’s brother, a zealous Hindu extremist, instigated his co-religionists to break up the worship due to a personal grievance he had against the pastor, according to the EFI. Multai police arrived and arrested Pastor Gujare and Prakash Masih for “uttering words with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person.” The Christians were sent to jail and were released on bail on March 15.
Karnataka – State police in Ankola, Uttar Kannada on March 4 arrested a pastor after Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh disrupted a worship service, beat him and other church members and accused them of forceful conversion. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the extremists barged into the Sunday worship of New Life Church, beat pastor K. Manohar, his wife Lavanya and other church members and took the pastor and his wife to police, accusing them of forceful conversion. The Christians were detained till late evening, and after area leaders’ intervention, Pastor Manohar’s wife was released without charges, but he was charged with hurting religious feelings and was sent to jail, according to the GCIC. At press time area Christian leaders were working to get the pastor released.
Karnataka – On March 3 in Vijayanagar, Bangalore, Hindu extremists accused Christians of forceful conversion and ordered them to halt a prayer meeting. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that the extremists forcefully entered the prayer meeting led by two women identified only as Parimala and Padmavathi of Mahima Prarthana Mandira. Police officers arrived, verbally abused the Christians and then ordered them to report to the police station the next day. Officers detained the Christians the following day, but after area Christian leaders’ intervention, they were released without a First Information Report being filed against them. GCIC also reported that the two women had to give a statement in writing that they wouldn’t visit houses and distribute tracts, and that they would not lead prayer vigils.
Assam – Hindu extremists in Gophur on March 3 beat a Christian worker for his faith. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that the extremists beat evangelist Santosh K. Jose, put a garland of sandals on him and paraded him through the village. Jose sustained severe injuries and was taken to his native Kannur, Kerala state, for treatment and rest.
Madhya Pradesh – On Feb. 28 Dasrath Mandari expelled his Christian wife, Satwantin Mandari, from their home and village in Tuthuly, Kanker, because of her faith in Christ. A source told World Watch Monitor that Hindu extremists had warned him that they would ostracize the family if his wife continued to believe in Christ, and he cast her out that same night. The community strictly prohibited her from returning home unless she returned to Hinduism. The homeless Christian was staying with a Christian family in Kanker.
Madhya Pradesh – The parents of a 23-year-old woman, along with community members, chased her from her home and village because she refused to renounce Christ. A source told World Watch Monitor that Hindu extremists Patel Singh, Jalam Singh and Raja Ram and one identified only as Iswar pressured Mingaro Bhai’s parents, Dasu Ram and Sadhini Ram, to throw her out. The convert from Hinduism took shelter with another Christian in Kanker and filed a complaint against the attackers on Feb. 13 in Dudhada Chowki Thana. Officials summoned her on Feb. 24 to tell her she could proceed with the complaint against her attackers, including her parents, in a higher court, but at press time Bhai had not done so.
Madhya Pradesh – On Jan. 19 in Modi, Thana Antagar, Kanker, Hindu extremists stopped a Christian from beginning her new job because of her faith in Christ. A source reported that the Madhya Pradesh government appointed Shrimati Sambhai of a Gospel for Asia church as a pre-school teacher, but the village head, Dhanuram Behari, and community leader Hiralal Behari persuaded the state to revoke her appointment because of her Christian faith. She filed a police complaint in Sarpanch Amodi on Feb. 18, to no avail. Area Christian leaders were intervening, but at press time the Christian was still not allowed to take her post.
Madhya Pradesh – Hindu extremists in Terra Gowndi, Dhamtari, on Jan. 18 ostracized a Christian convert from Hinduism and pressured him to leave the village. A source told World Watch Monitor that the extremist threatened to throw Om Prakash Sahu out of the village if he did not renounce Christ, and they also threatened his parents with harm if they did not bring him back to Hinduism.