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
Waquar Hasan | Clarion India
BASTAR – Members of the Christian community in Bastar district in the Central Indian state of Chhattisgarh are being attacked, forced to flee their villages, and being asked to renounce their “foreign religion,” Christian activists here have claimed.
“Attacks on Christians are happening because of their religion. Villagers are telling Christians that their culture was 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,” Pradeep Singh, a Christian activist, and a lawyer, said.
“They were not even allowed to take their clothes and told categorically that they can’t come back to the village until they renounce their religion,” he said.
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 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.
The police said that they are taking steps to resolve the issue and ensure peace.
“Narayanpur district police and local administration are taking appropriate action to resolve the issue and ensure peace and order in the area. Village elders and stakeholders are being taken into confidence to prevent any untoward incident,” Bastar IGP P. Sunderraj was quoted by Times of India as saying.
However, Pradeep 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. Yesterday, they tried to convince the villagers to abstain from what they were doing but they refused to oblige. 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.
According to him, those who are facing attacks had converted to Christianity some years ago. There are some groups who are inciting the villagers to attack them.
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.