30 gennaio 2013

Maharashtra asked to ensure Christians' safety

The demand comes after a recent attack on a Christian prayer meeting.

Mumbai:  A Catholic forum has urged Maharashtra government to ensure safety of Christians in the state, particularly in the Sindhudurg region.
“Hindutva fundamentalists are hyperactive in the area, threatening Christians from attending prayer meetings,” said Joseph Dias, president of the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF).
In a report to state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and Home Minister R R Patil, Dias expressed concern about the situation after he undertook a fact-finding tour of the coastal area in the wake of the Jan. 11 attack on 600 Christians attending a prayer meeting in Sawantwadi Municipal Hall by the New Life Grace Ministry Church.
Permission for the prayer was taken and police was also informed as the Christians were anticipating trouble.
In the middle of the worship a group of men barged into the hall and disrupted the prayer meeting.
“The Hinduva fundamentalists abused and threatened the Christian villagers. They then beat them up,” Dias said.
The CSF suspects that fundamentalists active in the Sanathan Sanstha and anti-minority political parties or forces are responsible for such communal disturbances.
Dias said that in view of the communally charged situation in the Sindudurg district, all prayer meetings are being held under police protection and need police permission, which is a gross violation of a Christian’s constitutional right to freedom of religion.
He alleged that police are mute spectators and at times even appear to have “colluded with the attackers.”

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