bulletin

India: Persecution Soars to New Extremes

June 22, 2006

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin - No. 383 - Wed 21 Jun 2006

----------------------------------------
INDIA: PERSECUTION SOARS TO NEW EXTREMES
----------------------------------------

India is a federation of semi-autonomous states. The federal
(central) government controls defence, foreign policy, taxation,
public expenditures and economic planning, whilst the states with
federal funding control agriculture, education, and law and order
within the state. When the BJP (Hindu nationalist political party)
won the 1999 federal elections, persecution of Christians escalated
nationwide. Some respite came when the BJP lost federal power in
the April-May 2004 elections. However, Hindutva (Hindu fascist)
forces are working hard to recapture and expand their political
ground before the next elections in 2009. Serious persecution of
Christians is increasing and is now at its worst ever.

These Hindu fascist forces are striving to achieve mass political
conversions to ensure that those who voted in 2004 for members of
the presently ruling United Progressive Alliance will vote for the
BJP in 2009. They are deceiving the tribal population into
believing that they are traditionally Hindu when in fact
historically they are animist. The Hindutva then claim India is
under threat from Muslim and Christian separatism and terrorism,
and can only be saved if all Hindus unite to fight against these
evil foreign forces. In the BJP-led states Hindutva forces are free
to engage in mass political conversion campaigns, incitement to
religious hate and violence, and to persecute Christians through
violence, forcible \'re-conversions\' (\'homecomings\') and,
ironically, charges of forcible conversions to Christianity.

THREE RECENT EXAMPLES OF SERIOUS PERSECUTION

IN BJP-RULED RAJASTHAN: On 14 June, the state government in
Rajasthan announced it would take over the five Emmanuel Mission
International (EMI) institutions: their Bible Institute, orphanage,
school, hospital, and church. EMI provides humanitarian and
educational services to some 10,000 children. Due to an alleged
minor violation of the Registration of Societies Act, EMI\'s
registration has been revoked, its accounts frozen and, now, its
institutions seized. EMI has been under intense persecution from
Hindutva forces determined to close it down. When intimidation and
violence failed, they searched for bogus charges and legal
loopholes.

IN BJP-RULED CHATTISGARH: In Bhilai some 25 Hindu militants burst
into the Hossana house-church worship service on Sunday 18 June and
tried to kill Pastor David Raj by burning a rubber tyre around his
neck. When that failed they violently beat the pastor and his wife
before parading and dragging him to the police station. His wife
was arrested late Sunday evening. The next day they were both
charged with insulting religion, promoting enmity between religious
groups and forcible conversions. They remain incarcerated and as
yet unable to apply for bail.

IN BJP-RULED MADHYA PRADESH: On 28 May, two poor and illiterate
tribal women were gang-raped by six men in Nadia village. This was
perpetrated as punishment for Gokharya Barela, the husband of one
of the women, refusing to renounce Christ and give up his
Christianity, even after a severe beating. The order to rape the
Christian women as punishment came from a local tribal chief but
allegedly had the backing of a senior BJP official. On 31 May the
women filed charges. On 5 June Indira Iyengar, the sole Christian
member of the Madhya Pradesh Minorities Commission (MPMC), was
holding a press conference with the two rape victims when Hindu
militants broke in and threatened her. The police did not arrest
the intruders and the MPMC is now threatening to sack Ms Iyengar!
Hindutva forces have now leveled forcible conversion charges
against the two rape victims, and district headman Pandya Patel has
told Christians to give up their faith or leave immediately, empty-
handed.

PLEASE PRAY SPECIFICALLY FOR:

* God to empower India\'s federal government, especially Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, with wisdom and courage to bring
justice, liberty and security to all of India and all Indians.

* God to intervene and use the EMI case in Rajasthan State for his
kingdom and glory; may the people of Rajasthan abhor the
injustice and persecution of EMI; and may the courts have the
courage and will to withstand aggressive Hindu fascist forces.

* Indian Christians suffering intense violent persecution now,
particularly Pastor David Raj and his wife, and the Christians of
Nadia village, especially those who have been beaten, raped and
falsely charged; may they experience the Holy Spirit as their
eternally present comforter, counsellor and strength.

* God to breathe a spirit of indignation into Indians, awakening in
them humanitarian, brotherly, neighbourly affections, so they
refuse to tolerate the persecution of humble, peaceful, servant
Christians and it becomes politically unsustainable. May God
\'frustrate the ways of the wicked\'. (Psalm 146:9)

~~~~

SUMMARY TO USE IN BULLETINS UNABLE TO RUN THE WHOLE ARTICLE:
------------------------------------------------------------

PERSECUTION IN INDIA SOARS TO NEW EXTREMES

Hindu nationalist forces in India are striving to regain lost
political ground before the 2009 federal elections. To get
political conversions they deceive tribal Indians into believing
they are traditionally Hindu, that India is under threat from
Muslim and Christian separatists and terrorists, and they must
unite as Hindus and fight. In states ruled by Hindu nationalists,
Hindu fascist forces violently persecute Christians with impunity.
On Sunday 18 June Pastor David Raj was attacked as he led worship.
Hindu militants tried to kill him by burning and beating. He and
his wife have since been arrested and charged with forcible
conversions. In Nadia village, two Christian women were raped as
punishment for the husband of one of them refusing to renounce
Christ, even after a severe beating. Pray for the Church in India,
and for God to intervene.

----------------------------------------------------
Previous RLPs may be viewed at
http://www.evangelicalalliance.org.au/rlc/
If you downloaded this message from a website or it
was forwarded to you, you may receive future editions
by sending an empty e-mail to <join-rl-prayer@xc.org>

Please send this RLP to others, with attribution to
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty
Prayer List <rl-prayer@crossnet.org.au>
----------------------------------------------------

The WEA Religious Liberty Commission sponsors this
RL Prayer List to help individuals and groups pray
specifically and regularly for religious liberty
issues, and in particular to uphold the Church
where it is suffering persecution.

RL Prayer is moderated by Ron Clough, a commissioner
of the WEA RLC and convenor of the Australian EA RLC.
Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.