• Persecution Watch, July 7, 2015

    Burial prevented in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh

    A Christian man was cremated according to Hindu rituals after Hindu organizations and the administration interfered to prevent a planned Christian burial for him at Sagar in Madhya Pradesh on July 4, 2015.

    According to reports published in Dainik Bhaskar, 45 year old Rajesh Yadav, a converted Christian, passed away after a long illness on July 4. As soon as he died, the extended family members of Rajesh Yadav, who are still Hindus, had a dispute with Rosalin Yadav, wife of Rajesh Yadav over the planned burial of Rajesh.

    Rosalin and Rajesh had been married for over 27 years and have a 20-year-old son, Akash. Rajesh had converted to Christianity in 2007 and also had given an affidavit to this effect. Following this he had been baptized at the Jyoti Bhavan Church in Sagar and was a regular Church member.

    Rosalin showed the papers and certificates pertaining to Rajesh's conversion but none of her arguments were sufficient for the administration and Hindu groups like Shiv Sena, whose leader Pappu Tiwari claimed that Rajesh was still a Hindu. The administration, local BJP ward members and the police eventually convinced Rosalin to give Rajesh's body to his relatives who then cremated him according to Hindu customs. Akash, Rajesh's son could not attend the last rites of his father.

    Church attacked at Bhiwani, Haryana

    Suspected Hindu miscreants targeted and attacked the Baptist Church at Bhiwani, Haryana on June 27, 2015 late in the evening. According to reports the Baptist Church situated in Naya Bazaar was targeted by a group of young men who arrived at the Church on motorcycles after 1 am in the morning.

    They started pelting the Church with stones and attempted to demolish the cross, breaking it in the process. Hearing the commotion a member of the Church who stays in the premises came out and was abused by the attackers in foul language. The attackers also threatened to kill him. Police were informed and as soon as they arrived, the attackers fled from the scene. The area is tense after the attack and police have been deployed to protect the Church. The Church has been in the area since 20 years.

    Earlier, in March 2015, a Church that was under construction, at Hissar, also in the state of Haryana, was attacked and demolished by miscreants. The attackers even hoisted a flag atop the Church with the words "Shree Ram" (lord Ram). The VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) General Secretary, Mr. Surendra Jain had later on defended the demolition asking whether Christians would allow construction of a Hanuman temple in Vatican City.

    Church attacked in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh

    Alleged Hindu extremists attacked the Christu Calvary Konda Church at Adoni, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh on June 28, 2015. According to reports, a crowd of around 30 people suspected to be from right wing Hindu organizations descended at the Church shouting Hindu slogans.

    They started pelting stones at the Church and also directed their attacks at the Pastor and his wife. The police reached in time and ensured the protection of the Pastor and his wife. However the police have not filed a complaint against the attackers.

    Catholic shrine desecrated in Kollam, Kerala

    A Catholic shrine was found desecrated on the morning of June 22, 2015 at Kollam city, Kerala. The colonial period shrine is attached to the Holy Cross Parish Church in the Anglo Indian enclave of Tangasseri in Kollam city. This is thought to be the work of vandals and was discovered by people who were on their way to attend the early morning mass.

    Posters against Christianity and Christian clergy in particular, written in derogatory manner and language were found pasted inside the shrine. The posters also warned of an upcoming attack against the Bishop Jerome Nagar commercial complex, a shopping mall developed by the Kollam diocese. The warning said that the commercial complex would be attacked with bombs. Also found at site were computer printouts containing messages and photos of Mata Amritanandamayi, the Hindu saint.

    Tension spread in the area and the police was deployed to prevent any casualties. However protestors blocked the Tangasseri arch, the entry point into the enclave and declared a shutdown of the area as a result of which Shops, commercial establishments, and branches of two banks in the enclave remained closed.

    3 Christians including 2 Pastors arrested in Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh

    Police arrested Pastor Rajesh Habil, Pastor Gigi P Paul and Mr. Navneet Chand on June 22, 2015 in a matter related to a protest by the Christian community on January 10, 2012 after a Christian graveyard was demolished and desecrated by alleged Hindu extremists earlier.

    The Kakrapal Christian graveyard was attacked and desecrated by 100 plus alleged members of Hindu extremist groups on January 8, 2012. The attackers demolished the boundary wall of the graveyard, shouted anti-Christian slogans and desecrated graves. (Read EFI News coverage of the incident here)

    When the Christians protested against this, the police refused to file an FIR. Following this Christians gathered en masse in protest due to which the national highway was interrupted for some time. This resulted in filing of FIR against three people but at the same time the police registered an FIR against 6 Christians too on alleged trumped up charges. The three Christians that were arrested on June 22, 2015 were named in the FIR registered in 2012.

    They were later released on bail on June 27, 2015.

    Bomb blast at the Assembly of God School in Kolkata

    A crude bomb exploded injuring one person at the playground of the Assembly of God school in Kolkata on June 20, 2015. The school is located in the Dum Dum Cantonment area and is run by the Assemblies of God Church.

    The incident took place on a Saturday otherwise the fatalities could have been more. A football match was to be held on the school playground and some young people were cleaning the ground when one of them noticed a ball like object. One of the young people in the school playground picked up the ball and threw it to another student who could not catch it but the object hit a wall and exploded injuring Johnny Haldar, a former student of the same school.

    He was rushed to the R.G.Kar Medical College and Hospital with injuries on his leg and trouble with his hearing because of the blast. He is stable now according to media reports.

    The Police say that crude explosives had been stuffed inside a ball and had been sealed with tape and probably miscreants had placed the same in the school compound.

    Nun raped in Raipur, Chhattisgarh

    Two unidentified men raped a 47-year-old Nun from Kerala, belonging to the Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, on June 19, 2015.

    The nun was discovered on the morning of June 20, gagged and tied to her bed at the medical center in which she serves in the Pandri area of Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. The medical center "Khrist Sahay Kendra" (Christ help center) has been in the area for the last 60 years.

    According to the statement that the victim made at a press conference in Raipur on June 24, two men entered her room as she slept in the medical center on the night of June 19. Their faces were covered. She was awakened by the noise in the room. When she asked one of the assailants if they wanted money, they replied 'we want much more than money'. Then one of them caught her from behind while the other put some medicines in her mouth in order to make her unconscious and gagged her mouth with a cloth. They then tied her to the bed using her sari and took turns to rape her.

    When this incident was discovered in the morning by authorities they found money on the floor and 26000 rupees that lay unlocked in one of the shelves in the room and had not been taken away.

    There have been widespread protests against the targeting of the nun in this manner and a case has been registered under section 376 of the Indian penal code but no one has been caught as of yet. The Chhattisgarh DGP meanwhile, has announced a cash reward of Rupees 50,000 for any information that could lead to the arrest of the assailants.

    Pastor Arrested in Odisha on multiple charges

    A Christian prayer meeting was forcefully stopped and the Pastor arrested on June 15, 2015 at Kandragunda village, Tentulikhunti, Nabarangapur, Odisha.

    Pastor Siluan Saroj Kumar Nayak was leading a prayer meeting at the Kandragunda village when four men allegedly belonging to right wing Hindu groups barged in and forced the Pastor to stop the meeting.

    The Pastor was later arrested and a FIR was filed against him under sections 295A/294/ 506 of the Indian Penal Code and RW Sec 5 of Odisha Freedom of Religious Act 1967.

    Pastor Nayak has been charged with hurting the sentiments of other religions (295A / 294), violating the Odisha Freedom of Religion Act 1967 and criminal intimidation (506).

    Till the time of writing the report Pastor Nayak was still in jail and seeking bail.

    Issued By:
    Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
    General Secretary
    Evangelical Fellowship of India
    New Delhi, India