India

Christians assaulted in Chhattisgarh, asked to renounce their faith

Christians assaulted in Chhattisgarh, asked to renounce their faith

Bastar (Chhattisgarh), December 24 (KMS): Members of the Christian community in Bastar district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh are being attacked, forced to flee their villages, and being asked to renounce their religion, Christian activists have said.

A Christian activist and lawyer, Pradeep Singh, said that attacks on Christians are happening because of their religion. “Villagers are telling Christians that their culture is flawed as they believe in a foreign religion. Their god and goddesses are foreigners. Therefore, Christians are being persecuted and forced to flee their houses,” he said.

Pradeep Singh said the Christians are not even allowed to take their clothes and told categorically that they can’t come back to the village until they renounce their religion.

Dozens of people from the Christian community of Narayanpur district in Chattisgarh’s tribal region have taken refuge in a stadium and some churches after villagers started attacking them last week.

The victims staged a sit-in protest at the Narayanpur collectorate demanding action against the attackers. They have also submitted a memorandum to the district magistrate claiming that 60 Christian families were targeted.

Inspector General of Police Bastar, P. Sunderraj said the police are taking steps to resolve the issue and ensure peace.

However, Pradeep Singh said that villagers are in large numbers, therefore, the police are asking the Christians to renounce their religion so that they could maintain peace in the area.

“Officials are putting pressure on Christians to renounce Christianity and come back to the Aadivasi fold. They tried to convince the villagers to abstain from what they were doing but they refused. Hence, the police asked the Christians to renounce their religion,” he said.

However, Christians are saying that they have a constitutional right to practice any religion. But the police are not ensuring safety for the thousands of victims, who are taking refuge wherever they are getting, said Pradeep.

Earlier in Raipur, a delegation of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum submitted a memorandum to Governor Anusuiya Uikey, demanding immediate relief to the victims of violence. They also sought a high-level committee to probe the attacks and immediate action in all cases registered so far. It lists 17 specific incidents of violence against Christians in the region.

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