By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi: Jaunpur, a district in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has witnessed “aggressive onslaught” on Christians from Hindu fundamental groups, says the Indian unit of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an advocacy group.
“In September the district has witnessed 12 incidents of violence against Christians. Pastors are woken up in the middle of the night and being arrested on false allegation of fraudulent conversions,” says a press release from ADF on September 25.
The press release signed by ADF India officials Tehmina Arora and A C Michael also says the roads connecting churches are blocked and police stop believers from going to church and force those on the way to return home.
It notes that Christians in Jaunpur form only miniscule 0.11 percent of its total 180,362 people.
Other pastors are also threatened if they conduct services in their churches.
The ADF India alleges that the attacks are triggered by false propaganda by certain television channels and newspapers who accuse the pastors of luring Hindus by performing miracles or offering allurements.
The villagers have told the news channels that they accepted Jesus because their prayers were heard or they were cured from diseases.
Despite such testimonies, harassment continued.
On September 5, police arrested Pastor Durga Pradesh and 270 Christians in Jaunpur, some 780 km southeast of New Delhi.
On September 11, pressed by radical groups, police arrested Pastor Rajendra Chouhan and seven others. They were released after three days.
Most attacks happened on September 13.
A mob attacked a Friday fasting prayer conducted by Pastor Ravindra. “Out of fear the Pastor and male members of the Church members ran away,” the press release said.
On the same day, the brother of village council president beat up a Church leader Ram Milan and forced him to stop the prayer meeting. In another place on that day police took into custody Pastors Ram Ratan and Thomas Osoof from Mumbai for holding a prayer meeting.
Police also took into custody Pastor Gulabchand along with three other Church leaders. He too was released on September 14.
On September 16, police blocked all roads connecting Bhulandih church and asked the Sunday Church goers to go back home. They also arrested four Christians but released them on bail three days later.
Pastors Anil Kumar, Praduman, Deepak Kumar, Monu and Ravinder were arrested by police in the middle of church service. They were released on bail on
On September 23, a mob accompanied by the local police went around the village shouting slogans. They then entered a church, disrupting the Sunday service. Pastor Ashok Rajbhar, his father and three more Church members were taken into custody. Later their father was allowed to go.
In another case, police arrested Pastor Chabilal conducting Sunday services.
On September 24, police asked Pastor Nanhe Lal to close down his church.