India Militants Attack Missionaries, Throw Teenager From Train

Tuesday, January 23, 2007 | Tag Cloud Tags: , , , ,

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Less than two weeks after their activists reportedly threw a Hindu convert to Christianity from a train, Hindu groups attacked Christian missionaries in India accusing them of "religious conversion," BosNewsLife monitored Monday, January 22.

New Delhi-based news agency Asian News International (ANI) said about 30 militants of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) group and its youth-wing Bajrang Dal disrupted an evangelistic meeting Sunday, January 21, in the town of Chakeri in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

About 100 participants were expelled from the hall where they were gathering, ANI reported.

"We came to know that in Richa guesthouse, some Christian missionaries were holding discourses on religious conversion. We would not have allowed that to happen. If they try to conduct such meetings again in future, we will give them a fitting reply and will take to the streets," VHP activist Sunil Singh was quoted. as saying.

DENYING CHARGES

Organizers and participants denied the charges, saying there was no forced conversion.

The reported attack came shortly after a former Hindu died in the neighboring state of Madhya Pradesh as he was allegedly thrown off a train by militants of the Bajrang Dal.

Bansi Lal, 18, died of his injuries January 12, three days after the incident, AsiaNews agency reported. Police officials said initially that the incident in Devas district appeared to be a "case of suicide" but local Christians said too his death was the "latest example of religious persecution by Hindu extremists."

The young man converted to Christianity from Hinduism two and half years ago and had reportedly been threatened ever since as even his family did not approve of his decision.

PENTECOSTAL MEETING

AsiaNews said Lal was thrown off the train while on his way back from a Pentecostal church meeting. He later died in hospital where staff said his injuries were too severe, with stones even embedded in his skull, AsiaNews reported.

Madhya Pradesh has seen many incidents of persecution against Christians, said Indira Iyengar, chairwoman of the Madhya Pradesh-Chattisgarh Christian Forum. She suggested that suspicions point in the direction of activists from the Bajrang Dal, because after a lull they "increased their attacks against Christians in the state, especially at Christmas time," Indira Iyengar said.

Church leaders have been reluctant to make comments about the incident, saying this could lead to further violence and retaliation against local Christian believers. Christians comprise less than three percent of India’s predominantly Hindu population of 1.1 billion people.

Hindu groups have condemned the spread of Christianity in especially rural areas of India and stepped up attacks against devoted Christians and missionaries, several human rights groups and churches say. (With BosNewsLife Monitoring and reports from India).

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