In Karnataka and Rajasthan, Hindutva mobs storm prayer services of Christians

Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/UCA News

Hindutva activists have disrupted Sunday prayer services in Karnataka and Rajasthan alleging forced religious conversions that were denied by Christians.

On November 7, members of the Sri Ram Sene barged into a Christian prayer hall in Maratha Colony in Karnataka’s Belgavi and locked in the devotees. The members of the Hindutva group alleged that Pastor Lema Cherian was converting poor Hindus to Christianity by organizing prayer services.

Police had to rush to open doors of the locked-up hall and asked those inside to go home, reported the UCA news agency, one of the largest Catholic news agencies in the world.

 “We are free to practice any faith of our choice and it is our fundamental right. No one can infringe upon it,” Pastor Cherian said.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Ajjol Chandrappa told reporters that a Hindu man who attended the prayer service had filed a complaint alleging conversion. The police said they were verifying the facts and may register a case.

Karnataka’s BJP government has announced enacting a law to regulate and criminalize fraudulent religious conversions as states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have already done.

In another incident in Jaipur, the capital city of Rajasthan, the Hindutva mob interrupted a Sunday prayer service alleging religious conversion.

The mob of 100 including mostly local residents interrupted the prayer service and said they shouldn’t take the name of Jesus.

The police rushed to the spot and found around 10 people participating in the prayer service, according to UCA news.

“We reached the spot after receiving a written complaint but did not find any evidence of anyone being converted,” said police officer Anil Kumar Tailor.

A.C. Michael, a human rights activist in the state said he met John Barla, the federal minister of state for minority affairs, seeking action against frequent attacks on Christians

He told the news agency that Barla had assured to take necessary steps to sensitize the police on the concerns of the minority community and ensure better security arrangements.