India: Hindus demand death or conversion for Christians

crime | Aug 22, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

Several incidents of violence, harmful to religious freedom, have troubled the Christian communities in India in the last few days. Police in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, are looking for the parents of a 23-year-old woman who had converted to Christianity and had planned to become a Catholic nun. Sources told the Fides news service that Lakshmi Priya, an engineer, was raised as a Hindu in Hydrabad, Andhra Pradesh. Reportedly, her Hindu parents used force to dissuade her from her plans to become a nun.
 
In another violent incident, on August 19, a seven-year-old boy in Jharkhand, who attended the Jesuit-run Catholic school St. Francis Xavier, died suddenly of cardiac arrest. A mob thereafter attacked the priests and nuns at the school in Jharkhand and demanded a compensation of 1 million rupees ($15,400). The Sisters of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate (CIC), who have worked at the school since 2005, were attacked by vandals who destroyed their convent. One of the priests who intervened, Fr. Salomon, was hospitalized following a head injury suffered during the attack. The Jesuits suspect that the attack was instigated by a group of Hindu fanatics.
 
On August 13, in JaiputRajasthan, the mother of an Evangelical Christian pastor was severely beaten by Hindu extremists who also threatened to kill her and cut her to pieces if she did not convert to Hinduism. Four armed men broke into Pastor Vishaal Behl’s home while he was away and vandalized the residence. They then threatened his mother, demanding to know the pastor's whereabouts. When she refused, the extremists beat her severely. 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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