Indian Christians protest rise in attacks against evangelists

Christians in India have faced discrimination and attacks.Reuters

An Indian evangelical group has protested against the "steadily increasing attacks on Christians" involved in evangelism and has called for government support against the perpetrators.

The call has come from the Tirunelveli District Pentecostal Churches Federation in the state of Tamil Nadu.

According to The Hindu, the protesters said they were being targeted by Hindu fundamentalists or 'Hindutva' adherents who objected to their preaching.

They stressed that they had never been involved in any anti-social activities and that they had a constitutional right to preach their faith.

Recent attacks on Christians and their churches, they said, had shattered their belief that they were living in a secular nation.

"Though we're being targeted, we've never retaliated and done anything that would undermine the tranquillity of society as Christianity is all about love, compassion and brotherhood. Without breaching the limits and encroaching upon others' religious rights, we're following and practising our religion.

"However, heads of a few Hindutva outfits are encouraging their cadres to orchestrate attacks against us," said R Babu Paul Dinakaran, district secretary of the Federation.

The protestors said the police should take action against attackers and that leaflets and posters "dividing people in the name of religion" should be removed.

A recent report by the Catholic Secular Forum said that the state of Tamil Nadu in the south of the country had the second largest number of anti-Christian incidents in India last year, after the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

The 'Hindutva' Hindu fundamentalist ideology is adhered to by the ruling BJP party and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), whose support helped propel Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power.