Karnataka, 4 Christians arrested over “door to door” forced conversions

» 08/29/2011
INDIA

According to the police they were proselytizing among the Dalits and poor Hindus. Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians: “The situation is alarming. The Dalits are empowered by Christian prayer and Hindus are afraid of this. ”

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “The number of Christians targeted by Hindu extremists are on the rise: the situation is alarming”, warns Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking toAsiaNews of the umpteenth case of anti-Christian violence, the fourth in the month of August in Karnataka. Yesterday the police arrested four Uppinangady Pentecostal Christians in Puttur Taluk (Dakshina Kannada district), accused of trying to convert by force a Dalit colony in Nidle Boodujalu. The Christians were beaten before being arrested.

Praveen Boodujalu, a Hindu, denounced the four, accusing them of door to door proselytizing. Some local residents, including the Dalits, said that the group – Mary (60), her son Kunjimonu (30), his wife Lenny (23) and BT Sainu (34) – went to their homes every Sunday for a month, bringing books to help in the conversion to Christianity. According to the police report, the houses chosen by the Christian were only those of Hindu and Dalits with financial difficulties. “When we refused – explain some locals – the Christians attacked and insulted on the basis of our caste.”

But for Sajan George, “this arrest reflects the lack of religious freedom in Karnataka. Moreover, the evangelization of the Dalits is still viewed with suspicion. In India, for Hinduism India’s over 250 million Dalits are Hinduism’s “untouchables,” relegated by the high-caste to an almost permanent underclass status. The caste system, though illegal in India, remains in force socially. Dalits are not allowed to enter upper-caste houses, fields, or temples. They cannot draw water from village wells or wear shoes while passing upper-caste areas”.

“Many of them – continues the president of the GCIC – are empowered by the liberative message of the Gospels and this is staunchly opposed by the Hindus, hence they will use even fabricated charges to arrest anyone who announces to them the Good News of Salvation through Jesus Christ”. (NC)

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