AP: Jesus statue vandalized twice *Karnataka: Hindutva persecution *Gujarat: Church refutes conversion charge
This act of vandalism occurred between 1 and 2 am on the 24th of March. This was the second time that the statue has come under attack this month. On the 1st of March, the statue’s glass enclosure was shattered by unknown miscreants. Ronald John, the district president of All India Christian Council (aicc-Mahabubnagar) rushed to the spot. A few politicians and Christian leaders from the locality also visited the location and expressed their solidarity over the incident. They vowed to see that the miscreants were penalized.
A forensic lab crew is presently investigating the crime scene for any clues that would yield leads to pin down the culprits. Security around the locality has also been beefed up with about 30 constables deployed to keep watch of the streets.
Karnataka: Hindutvas beat pastor & believers
Karnataka, March 29, 2012: Pastor Mallikarjun has been active with his ministry in Gadag District of Karnataka during the last 2 and half years. He has a congregation of about 35 believers. In the surrounding 3 villages there are altogether 3 fellowships with a total membership of about 60 members. The pastor lives with his wife Manjula (33) and their 3 children two girls and a boy, aged 1, 5 and 7 years.
On Wednesday, 28th March, the pastor went for a prayer meeting at the residence of a believer which is about 15 kilometers away from his village. Also as there was a festival in the village yesterday, after the prayer meeting, the pastor along with 4 of his believer friends began distributing some handbills about the Christian faith to the people assembled for the festival. This infuriated some Hindu fundamentalists and at about 1.30 pm one Ravi Bagle and his friends, all members of the local RSS unit, attacked them and beat them up mercilessly. Then they dragged all the five of them to the police station and filed a complaint against them alleging that they were forcibly trying to convert Hindus to Christianity.
In the meantime the GCIC came to know about the arrest and got in touch with some of the known police officials and succeeded in getting 3 of the believers released at about 11 pm. The pastor was charged under sections 107 and 157 of IPC and was about to be produced before the magistrate. The GCIC immediately got a lawyer, and he succeeded in getting the pastor and the other believer too released at about 1.30 am. But the pastor had to meet the Tahsildar on 29th morning and give his version. The case is on. Please pray for Pastor Mallikarjun.
Gujarat Church refutes conversion charge
The Church in Gujarat has termed a probe into proselytization charge against it as “intimidatory and harassing” tactics by the state government.
A forum for Peace and Justice based in Petlad town of Anand district had alleged that 32 minor dalit children were converted into Christianity by a Roman Catholic Church at Khambat taluka.
Father Cedric Prakash, convenor Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace described the charges as “baseless, misleading and mischievous,”.
He said the forum was referring to the ceremony where some Catholic children were conferred sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Khambat church.
Forum coordinator Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity at Roman Catholic Church of Nagra and on February 12 nearly 15 other minor children were converted at the denomination’s Church in Cambay.
He alleged that the schedule caste children, who belonged to the weavers’ community, were converted without their parents knowledge.
However, three church officials including Frs. Andrews Silvera, Vinay and Piyush from the Cambay church have rubbished the claims.
“All the children whose names have been mentioned are Christians by birth so there is no question of conversion. Their parents were present during a ceremony that was held,” said Fr Silvera.
He said they have made their statements to the police on Tuesday.
“This is another clear instance of how minorities in Gujarat continue to be intimidated and harassed by right-wing forces in nexus with powerful vested interests,” said Fr Prakash.