ASIA/INDIA - Hindu Fanatics beat Christians in Karnataka

Mundargi (Karnataka) - Allegations of conversions and then violent beatings: is what the Hindu extremists of the movement RSS ("Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh", "National Volunteer Organization") did against the Christian Protestant Pastor Mallikarjun Sangalada, 37, and other four Christians of his community. The umpteenth episode of gratuitous violence which occurred in the district of Mundargi Gadag, in the Indian state of Karnataka (South India). The Pastor, with his wife and 3 children, carries out his ministry in a small local community that, in several villages, has a total of about 60 members. On Wednesday, March 28, the Pastor went to a prayer meeting at the house of a believer in Dhoni, about 15 kilometers from his village. After the prayer meeting, the Pastor, along with four other believers, began distributing some leaflets inviting locals to a Christian community festival. This made some Hindu fundamentalists very angry and attacked and beat them without mercy. Then they dragged the five to the police station in Mundargi, denouncing them for "forced conversions from Hindus to Christianity". The "Global Council of Indian Christians", an organization that defends the rights of Indian Christians, by contacting the local police was able to secure the immediate release of the three Christians. Later a lawyer intervened who, after a few hours, managed to secure the release of the pastor and other believers. It is likely that the Pastor must appear before a magistrate because they are accused of "fraudulent conversions". In 2011 there were over 1,000 incidents of attacks against Christian people or places in Karnataka, which according to Fides sources, "seems to be the most violent and insecure state": among the 1,000 cases registered, over 140 are severe episodes of persecution against Christians , characterized by false allegations of "forced conversions". Recently Bishops, Christian leaders, movement and association leaders, state politicians, gathered for the Convention of the "Federation of Christian Associations of Karnataka" (FKCA) have launched an appeal to the civil authorities asking them to ensure the protection of Christian Indians and respect for religious freedom. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/3/2012)