NEW DELHI – An attempt by police in India’s Madhya Pradesh to survey the state’s Christian minority came to light this month and left church leaders calling for a federal investigation into alleged religious profiling.
Dr. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, called for a National Commission for Minorities probe into the survey, which sought data on where Catholics and Protestants live, their economic status, and details of Christian-operated schools, including sources of income and whether they get foreign funding.
“Such surveys are uncalled for in view of the Union government’s own census and the National Sample Surveys, which give all the data that development agencies may ever want,” Dayal told Compass. “Surveys of this nature, especially by the police, amount to religious profiling, which is illegal.” more >>
Around 15,000 Christians walked, many barefoot, for six hours in the streets of Mumbai, India, on Good Friday enacting Jesus’ walk to the Cross and condemning growing attacks on the minority community.
This 24th Annual Lenten Walking Pilgrimage was held especially to give hope to and express solidarity with the persecuted Christians, the event’s chief organizer Joseph Dias told The Christian Post.
The gathering comprised of Christians from evangelical as well as mainline Protestant churches “apart from the Catholics, who formed the majority,” said Dias, who leads the organization behind the rally, Christian Revival Oriented Social Service. more >>
LOS ANGELES – Friends and family of two Indian Christians arrested after a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia in January have tried in vain to secure their release.
The two Christians were incarcerated for attending the prayer meeting with other Indian nationals and accused of converting Muslims to Christianity, though the government has not produced formal charges, sources said.
Yohan Nese, 31 and Vasantha Sekhar Vara, 28, were arrested on Jan. 21 when mutaween (religious police) raided an apartment where the two had lingered after attending the prayer meeting. Religious police interrogated and beat them to the point that they suffered injuries, according to sources. During this time, religious police who were cursing at them allegedly tore up and trampled on Bibles and Christian material they had confiscated, said a source who spoke to the men. more >>
With hundreds of listed Sharia-compliant companies in India’s stock exchanges, Islamic investments from Asia, the Gulf and Europe may soon begin to flood the Indian market. This will boost India’s economy, but also intensify security concerns.
Sharia or Islamic law prohibits Muslims from investing in companies that earn profits from interest or the sale of goods or services deemed unlawful in the Islamic faith, such as alcohol and pork. Sharia-compliant companies, screened by Islamic finance monitors, comply with Islamic canonical law to allow devout Muslims to invest.
Though known as “ethical investing,” Sharia finance raises eyebrows among security agencies. more >>
NEW DELHI – Right-wing terrorists played a key role in attacking and killing Christians in Orissa and Karnataka states in 2008, one of the Hindu extremist suspects in anti-Muslim bomb blasts has told investigators, leading to renewed demands for a probe by India’s anti-terror agency.
Pragya Singh Thakur, arrested for planning 2008 bombings targeting Muslims in west India, told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that Lt. Col. Prasad Srikant Purohit had “masterminded” the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka, The Indian Express daily reported on Wednesday (March 23). Purohit is accused along with Thakur for the 2008 bombings of Muslims.
Thakur had met with Purohit after the August 2008 Kandhamal attacks against Christians began and told her “he was into big things like blasts, etc., and had masterminded the Orissa and Karnataka ‘disturbances,’” the national daily reported. more >>
NEW DELHI – Hindu extremists have attacked Koya tribal Christians in villages in a remote area of Orissa state at least 15 times since Dec. 8, 2010, Christian leaders said.
In the latest incident in Murliguda, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Malkangiri town, about 60 assailants from the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Feb. 23 damaged the eardrums of Bhadan Hontal and beat another Christian, Markari Soma, until he fell unconscious, according to a report by the Malkangiri District Christian Manch (MDCM, with Manch meaning “Forum”).
Christian women, some pregnant, as well as children were among those injured in the attacks on churches, reported Pastor Vijay Purusu of Bethel Church and president of the MDCM. The spate of attacks began on Dec. 8 in Katanpali village, when about 35 Hindu extremists stormed the house of Pastor Mark Markani and beat him. more >>