Monday, January 28, 2013

Hindu Fundamentalism

Hindu fundamentalism is alive and well in India. According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India's "Persecution Watch Yearly Report", there were 131 acts of violence against Christians in 2012.

Here is Tamil Nadu's score card.
21 February - In Kanhagad, Kasargod, alleged Hindu extremists in Kanhagad, Kasargod verbally abused Pastor Titus Ignatius Kapan and his children and damaged his car because of their faith in Christ.
2 April - In Akkarapettai,Nagapattinam ,anti-Christian group tore up Bibles and gospel literature in the homes of children attending Scriptures Union's Centre and asked one Christian family to vacate the house after they admitted they believe in Christ. The anti-Christian group have also locked 12 Christian houses for three days.
11 April – In Emapur,Villupuram, alleged Hindu extremists led by Balaji beat up Pastor Caleb when he was on his way to preach the gospel. They further pressurized the pastor's landlord to vacate the room as the Christians have been conducting the worship service in the house.
12 April – In Dalmiya Puram, Trichy, an intruder disrupted a prayer meeting led by Pastor Y.S. John of the Indian Pentecostal Church and stabbed a Christian, John Britto who tried to calm the intruder and severely injured him.
21April – In Paganeri, alleged Hindu extremists beat Christians, burned their Bibles and tracts, seized their vehicle key and destroyed their megaphone.
30 April – In Banglawmedu, alleged Hindu extremists barged into the VBS class conducted by Pastor V. Neethirajan from the church of God Ministry, manhandled them and ordered them to stop the VBS immediately. The Bible School was cancelled. 
20 June – In Kesavan, Puthur, alleged Kanyakumari, Hindu extremists barged into Bethel Prayer House, beat up the worshippers, destroyed furnitures and equipments. Pastor David and Assistant Pastor Babu were hospitalised for five days in Thakkli Government hospital. 
23 June – In Vanagiri Sirkali, Nagapattinam, alleged armed Hindu extremists burnt and plundered four buildings of the Christians. 15 people were injured, including two in critical condition. 
26 July – In Midiakia, Baliguda, Kanhhamal, miscreants desecrated a Christian cemetery. The cross on each of the grave has been removed. 
5 August - In Marthandam, Kanyakumari , Hindu extremists beat Pastor Robinson Thankamani as he was going to his church to conduct a prayer meeting.
26 August - In Nadaikavu, Kanyakumari, alleged Hindu extremists killed a Christian, Edwin Raj, 35 years old, after barging into the worship meeting of Church of South India (CSI).
I could have sworn that Kasargod was in Kerala, not Tamil Nadu!

But all is not bad.
In a significant move towards religious freedom, the Himachal Pradesh High Court held that section 4 of the Freedom of Religion Act, 2006 and Rules 3 and 5 of the corresponding Rules as unconstitutional in a petition filed by the Evangelical Fellowship of India and ANHAD. 
The concerned section and rules pertained to a convertee being obligated under the Act to give prior notice of a religious conversion and being subjected to a mandatory state inquiry.
Recognising that such state intrusion is violative of the fundamental right of privacy safeguarded under the right to life in the constitution, the court held that “A person's belief or religion is something very personal to him. The State has no right to ask a person to disclose what is his personal belief. The only justification given is that public order requires that notice be given. We are of the considered view that in case of a person changing his religion and notice being issued to the so called prejudicially affected parties, chances of the convertee being subjected to physical and psychological torture cannot be ruled out. The remedy proposed by the State may prove to be more harmful than the problem.”
The last time I checked, engaging in proselytism, (while creepy) is completely legal in India. Which is probably why fundamentalists on the other side like to dub it, 'forced conversion'.

See: John L. Allen Jr.'s All Things Catholic.

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