During the midst of Sunday worship on October 27, a Protestant Christian congregation was attacked by Hindus belonging to Bajrang Dal – a radical nationalist sectarian organization - in Kalva, Maharashtra. Catholic Secular Forum reported that a group of 35 Hindu militants armed with sticks and iron bars broke into an Assembly of God hall, assaulting and beating the worshipers there while plundering the hall. The Hindus accused the Christians of subjecting Hindus to forced conversions. Four Christians were seriously injured and were hospitalized. Members of the Christian congregation reported the incident to police, who arrested five militants.
The latest attack followed a similar incident on October 6 at the same place of worship. At that time Pastor Arul Raj was severely beaten and dragged to a police station by Hindu militants who accused him of proselytism. After the incident, the police had ordered two officers to guard the church. The officers were not able to contain the fury of the attack on October 27.
According to the Fides news service, Joseph Dias of Catholic Secular Forum noted "This is a clear attempt to polarize society on religious basis, for purely political reasons, in view of the general elections in India (scheduled in 2014, ed.). We ask the Minister of the Interior of Maharashtra, Raosaheb Ramrao Patil, to ensure protection to Churches and Christian prayer halls and punish those who try to trigger a religious conflict.”
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