Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Radical Hindu movement attempts to block interreligious violence bill in India

Pray for Indian believers who daily
face unprecedented violence. Pray
for religious freedom.
The radical Hindu Bajrang Dal movement is attempting to block the path of a bill to prevent interreligious violence in India, reports AsiaNews.

The national coordinator of the Bajrang Dal Subhash Chouan called the law “draconian” and announced that his organization will launch a national campaign to prevent the law being approved by Parliament.

The leader of the Bajrang claims the law interferes in the workings of state government and moreover attacks the federal nature of national politics. “If the employee of a particular organization is accused of interreligious violence, the head of the organization will be held accountable. This law will punish the leaders, even though they are not to blame.”

The president of the Global Council of Christian Indians (GCIC), Sjan K. George, condemns the move and recently told AsiaNews that “Right-wing Hindutva elements continue with impunity and immunity, doing whatever they want to the minorities in several parts of the country.”

On June 5, Karnataka police stormed a Pentecostal house-church Sunday worship, following false complaints of “forced” conversion against the Pastor Manjunath Venketappa Naik in Doddama Layout area of Bangalore.

For nearly four hours, the police detained the pastor, his wife, three minor children and six other believers. Only through advocacy by GCIC were they released without being charged.

Sajan K George said he was also surprised at the criticism from the Bajrang Dal to a report by the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom. “The Report focuses on the anti-conversion laws in five states of India. These laws apart from being draconian are clearly violations of one’s freedom of religion and expression. Minorities hardly enjoy the same status as the majority community; unfortunately, we are treated so often as second class citizens.”

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