Hindu extremists threaten Christians in India and forced to reconvert
Hindu extremists have intensified their persecution campaign against Christians in India, threatening to "cut them into pieces" if they go back to church and refuse to reconvert to Hinduism, church leaders disclosed recently. In Rajasthan State, 10 Christian families in Nakhnool village, near Alwar have fled after Hindu extremists harassed and threatened to kill them, area church leaders said. One of the Christians facing Hindu fury was a pastor who was threatened with death if he continues holding worship meetings, according to the report.
"Since June 27, we have not been able to have any kind of worship meetings," area pastor Malkeet Singh said. "The extremists threatened to harm us if we utter the name of Christ or conduct any Christian meetings." Last July 19, members of the Hindu extremist Shiv Sena, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reportedly held a homecoming to Hinduism (Ghar Vapsi) in front of Pastor Pratap Singh's house.
According to Rajamman Johnson, Regional Secretary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMBP), about 600 people gathered in front of the pastor's house and put up the idol of the Hindu god Hanuman. They forced Singh and 10 family members to worship the idol and sign a paper which read "I am willing to be a Hindu." "They forced them to drink water procured from the Ganga River and put kumkum [red marks] on their foreheads to show that they are now Hindus," Johnson said.
As the Hindu extremists had threatened to kill him if he continued to lead worship meetings, Pastor Singh had been in hiding for a month. The extremists found him and took him to his house for the ritual, Johnson said. “The extremists had been following the movement of Pastor Singh closely for a long time, and then they dragged him back from his hiding place to forcefully convert him along with 10 members of his family to Hinduism in an hour-long Ghar Vapsi ceremony,” he said.
Pastor Singh has been ministering the village for 15 years and started getting death threats last December. "The extremists boldly claimed that they were the ruling [BJP] party in the State, and that they can stop whatever they like," Johnson said. "The support they get from the police and the village head emboldened their actions."
Christian leader Anil Masih said Christians in the village has stopped meeting for fear of their lives. "The extremists threatened to socially boycott the Christians if they continue to worship Christ and threatened to kill them if they submit a police complaint against anyone," he said.
On June 28, the extremists held a "reconversion" ritual in Narpur village wherein 50 Christians were forced to convert to Hinduism. "They collected 50 Christians from Nakhnool, Kota and Nikkach villages and conducted a Ghar Vapsi on the land of the FMBP, and the extremists further threatened to kill and cut the Christians into pieces if they ever go back to church again," Johnson said. The Hindu extremists also planned to demolish the FMBP building in Bandholi last July 18 and threatened to harm the family of local evangelist Malkeeth Singh.
In Maharashtra State, Hindu extremists since July 19 have been massing to stop village Christians from worshipping. “On every Sunday for more than a month now, around 100 Hindu extremists gathered near where we are conducting Sunday meetings and threatened to harm some of our church members if they continue to attend the prayer meetings,” said Pastor Benjamin Gomes of New Life Grace Ministries in Pinguli village, Kudal, Sindhugurh.
The extremists submitted a police complaint alleging forced conversion against the Christians. Police later summoned the Christians and told them to stop meeting, but church members went to the police station and told officers that they attended the church of their own free will and said there was no forceful conversion or defaming of Hindu gods, said the Rev. Anand Chougule. Source Morning Star News
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