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Christian Suffers Brain Haemorrhage Hours After Police Interrogation For Evangelising
Tuesday, January 31, 2017, 12:18 (IST)
An Indian Christian is in a coma from suffering a brain haemorrhage hours after he was interrogated by police.
KA Swamy, 47, was taken to the police station after he handed out Bibles and other Christian literature near a Hindu temple, according to World Watch Monitor. Angry Hindu nationalists accused him evangelising in the temple area and looked to prosecute him under "anti-conversion laws".
After six hours of interrogation he was eventually released by police but suffered a brain haemorrhage on his way home.
His brother-in-law told the persecution watchdog it was not the first time he had been arrested for preaching the gospel.
""Several times in the past also he has been caught by extremists from Vishwa Hindu Parishad [a Hindu nationalist group] and has been threatened. He has also been taken to the police station for verification many times before. This time he just couldn't take it."
He added: "They told me that they have over 200 photos of him distributing Bibles and tracts; these are the evidences of his converting people and that he was guilty."
Several Indian states have so-called 'Freedom of Religion Acts' which officially prevent religious conversions being made by 'force', 'fraud' or 'allurement'. But Christians and rights groups say in reality the laws are in reality 'anti-conversion laws'.
They claim Hindu nationalists use them to harass, arrest and inprison Christians.
Such laws are currently in force in five states – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh – and have been discussed in several others.
Hindu nationalist MPs under the BJP party are said to be concered about the decline of Hinduism in India and point to census data that suggests the country's Hindu's population has dropped below 80 per cent.
"We have to take measures to arrest the decline," said Tarun Vijay, a BJP MP in the Upper House.
He plans to introduce a bill to ban any conversion away from Hinduism.
"It is very important to keep the Hindus in majority in the country. My argument is that religion must remain a matter of personal choice. But in India, it has become a political tool in the hands of foreign powers, who are targeting Hindus to fragment our nation again on communal lines. This has to be resisted in national interest and in the interest of all minorities in India."
Persecution charity Open Doors' recently released World Watch List showed a startling rise in attacks on Christians in India. India has risen to number 15 on the World Watch List, up from a ranking of 31 in 2013.
"This year there is a clear pattern of rising religious intolerance across the Indian sub-continent which affects many millions of Christians," said Lisa Pearce, CEO of Open Doors UK & Ireland.
"Religious nationalists attempt to forcibly convert people to the dominant faith of their nation, often turning to violence when community discrimination and non-violent oppression do not succeed in imposing their religious beliefs on minority Christians. These Christians are often from the lower castes, such as the Dalits in India who face huge socio-economic problems – they are an easy target for extreme nationalists."