By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
Hundreds of Christians protested in Karnataka’s city of Hubballi, witnesses said, amid rising Hindu pressure on devoted minority Christians.
They gathered after Hindu nationalist hardliners raided Hubballi’s Bairidevarkoppa Church last Sunday, October 17, to protest alleged forced religious conversions.
Several members of the congregation, including the pastor, Somu Avaradhi, and some members of his congregation reportedly suffered minor injuries when they tried to stop the attack.
The incident added to the sense of urgency among Christians participating in this week’s march. They began walking at St Peter’s Church, Gadag Road, culminating at the Kittur Chennamma Circle, a well-known landmark and roundabout in the city center.
Following a rally there, protesters were seen proceeding to government buildings amid concerns authorities will continue their perceived anti-Christian policies.
Sunil Mahade, president of the Dharwad District Christian Pastors and Leaders’ Alliance for Peace March, lashed out at the “unfounded accusations of forced conversions” leveled at Christians.
It is common in India for Christians involved in legitimate evangelism to be “falsely accused” of forcing individuals to convert to Christianity, the rights activist and other sources said.
“We are Indians, and we lead our lives according to the Constitution. Don’t make baseless allegations against us and victimize us,” he added in remarks distributed by the Barnabas Fund charity.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said recently that the state government intends to introduce a new anti-conversion law.
If such a law is passed, Karnataka would be the tenth Indian state to criminalize conversions carried out through force, fraud, or allurement.
Protestors also condemned a government-backed investigation into Christian activities in Karnataka that authorities claim aims to prevent “forced conversions” to Christianity.
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