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Posted in: Christian Persecution - Asia

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) — There was mounting concern Tuesday, December, 5, about what at least one advocacy group described as a "huge increase" in attacks against Christians in India, where Hindu and some Muslim groups are apparently fighting the spread of Christianity.

The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) which investigates cases of persecution told BosNewsLife that the violence, including rapes and killings, has been directed especially against Christians who are "engaged in ministry as well as ordinary believers – across Karnataka" state.

Hindu militants in the areas of Mangalore, Davangere, Bangalore, Shimoga, Mandya , Mysore are especially targeting Christians from a "Dalit and Tribal background," GCIC said. Dalits are often considered as the 'lowest caste' in India's ancient system of Hinduism.

GCIC told BosNewsLife however that is has documented the occurrence "of almost 200 attacks on Christians, in all parts of India from January to November 2006" especially by militants of the Hindu group Sangh Parivar.

INDIAN GOVERNMENT

The group urged the Indian government and other authorities to show solidarity "with the victims persecuted for their faith and commitment to serve the downtrodden in society," by investigating the circumstances of those killed, including Christian worker Bashir Tantray who was killed last month by suspected Islamic militants in Indian controlled Kashmir.

Another Christian, identified as religious items salesman Jacob, was killed five days by a suspected Hindu extremist on November 26, near the St. Thomas Mount Church in Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu state, BosNewsLife learned.

GCIC said is is demanding "justice for the family of Bashir Tantray and the murder of Christian worker Jacob," as well as others killed for their faith in 2006. Among other attacks noted by GCIC and other human rights groups investigating this year's violence were an increase of attacks against orphans and raped of Christian women.

In one of the latest reported incidents, a resident of Elha village in Rohtas district, Bihar state, raped the wife of a local pastor last week, Wednesday, November 29. Villagers said Hindu extremists encouraged him to rape her in order to disrupt Christian activity there. A local resident allegedly abducted and raped 28-year-old Neelam Paswan, the wife of Shriram Paswan, in a field near her house. The Paswans work with Faith Fellowship, a local, registered non-profit organization founded by Pastor Radhey Shyam Philip.

HINDU GROUP

Members of a youth wing of a Hindu extremist group also entered the Avila Convent Catholic Girls’ High School at Mysore in Karnataka state last week, Thursday, November 30 and assaulted several staff members.

The members of the Bajrang Dal, youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), reportedly accused the school of attempting to convert Hindu children. Four men from the Bajrang Dal and VHP entered the office of the school headmistress, identified only as Sister Francina, and asked her why Christian literature was being distributed at nearby Hindu Sadvidya School.

Militants beat Sister Francina, for allegedly distributing Christian literature. Dozens of other militants also entered the school premises and attacked staff members who tried to rescue Sister Francina, news reports said.

India is a predominantly Hindu nation of roughly 1.1 billion people, and human rights groups fear minority Christians are increasingly singled out for attacks by violent religious groups. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from India).

Copyright 2006 BosNewsLife. All rights reserved.
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