Several Injured as Religious Violence Rocks India's Punjap state
- NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)-- Local authorities in India's northern state
of Punjab have beefed up security around all churches in Jalandhar district
where several people were injured in clashes between Christian and Hindu
activists, BosNewsLife learned Wednesday, September 28.
Clashes between members of the Punjab Christian Movement (PCM) and the
influential hard-line Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) broke
out September 26 after
Hindu activists tried to prevent a PCM demonstration, Indian news reports
RSS activists and their supporters demanded a halt to a PCM protest rally
against the upcoming visit of RSS chief K.C. Sudershan to a local school in
the area on October 2, reported the Tribune, a regional newspaper.
The PCM is a political group with a few local Christians among its members.
Both sides reportedly indulged in stone-pelting when members of the PCM were
marching from Company Bagh towards the office of the Deputy Commissioner to
submit a protest petition.
CHRISTIAN WOMAN INJURED
A Christian woman activist allegedly sustained a head injury, and two local
leaders of the RSS received injuries on their backs and faces during the
clash, said the Tribune. Apparently expecting "attacks on the churches,
security had been beefed up around all churches, including those in the
rural areas," of Jalandhar district the Tribune said.
However in a development that was expected to worry Christians, the Senior
Superintendent of Police, Mr. Ishwar Singh, filed criminal charges against
five PCM members including its president Hamid Masih, and activists Surinder
Gill, Anil Kumar, Freddy Joseph and Lal Chand, the BosNewsLife New Delhi
Hindu leaders have also warned to take tough actions against Christians.
Indian news organization New Kerala quoted Chhavi Bhasker Bhardwaj, convener
of the Punjab unit of the Hindu group Hindu Bajrang Dal as saying his
organization "will be forced to take the extreme step of announcing an
economic boycott of Christians" if "a stern action" was not taken against
the Christian group by authorities.
Bajrang Dal is the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu
Council, which has been linked to several attacks against Christians in the
past. In a statement obtained by BosNewsLife, the Catholic Church of
Jalandhar district on September 27 expressed "sympathy towards all those
injured in the clash between members of the RSS and the PCM."
It said the incident was "unfortunate and uncalled for." Hindu militant
violence against Christians have spread throughout India in recent months.
On September 22, for instance, Hindu extremists attacked and threatened
several Christians in the Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh state, accusing
them of desecrating a Hindu idol, Compass Direct news agency reported. One
Christian was reportedly admitted to a hospital with serious injuries, while
another was detained at the Kalyanpura police station for over 32 hours.
Most of India's over one billion people are Hindus, but advocacy groups say
Hindu organizations are concerned over the growing number of Christian
churches in the country. They have accused missionaries and churches of
"forced conversions", charges especially evangelical believers strongly
- Dear honorable members
Greetings in HIS name
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St.George Jacobite Syrian Orthodox Church
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