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Christianity TodaySeptember (Web-only) 2003

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Missionaries in India Concerned as Hindu Activists Break Up Prayer Meeting
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Christians in India are still persecuted
Earlier this week, as an Indian court convicted 13 Hindu radicals of the 1999 murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines, Weblog noted that Christians in the country were on edge, justifiably worried about backlash from militant Hindus.

But they don't need a high-profile murder verdict to be on edge. "There are attacks practically every week, maybe not resulting in death, but still, violent attacks," Richard Howell, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India tells The Christian Science Monitor today. "They [India's controlling BJP party] have created an atmosphere where minorities do feel insecure."

Prakash Louis, director of the secular Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, agrees. "We are seeing a broad attempt to stifle religious minorities and their constitutional rights," he says. "Today, they say you have no right to convert. Tomorrow, you have no right to worship in certain places."

Need one more example? Yesterday morning, about 50 activists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, closely associated with the BJP, went to a Christian prayer meeting in Borivali and forced the believers to leave.

"They said we paid Rs 5,000 to each person to convert to Christianity," Pastor Prakash Boyin told the Mumbai newspaper Mid Day. "Around 100 people had already come for the prayers. They asked them to get out of the hall and locked the hall."

"The prayers should have been held in a church and not in an area where there are no Christians," a VHP spokesman replied.

Meanwhile, Christians are asking the Indian government to release census figures in order to prove that Christianity isn't growing as much as Hindu activists are claiming in their effort to pass a national anti-conversion ...



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