Nationalist groups in Karnataka demanded immediate suspension of Christian prison chaplain after inmate was found with Bible

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The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal groups in Karnataka have demanded that all Christian prison chaplains in the state be suspended immediately after a Hindu chaplain saw a prisoner with a Bible in Gadag jail.

Christian chaplains are seeking to convert inmates, according to the two nationalist groups that filed a complaint with Gadag police.

A group of Christian missionaries visited Gadag District Prison on March 12 to pray with inmates and distribute New Testament copies, said the complaint.

The Hindu nationalists group claimed that Christian chaplains were attempting to convert prisoners to Christianity and chastised the jail officials for allowing religious literature to be distributed.

“If Hindu preachers are allowed to meet Hindu prisoners, what is wrong with Christian preachers meeting Christian prisoners. If there’s evidence of forceful or fraudulent conversions of others, let them take action according to the law, with proofs of conversion at hand,” Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore told Crux.

The number of Christians in the country is actually decreasing, according to Christian leaders. The percentage of Christians in India was 2.34 percent in 2001, but it had declined to 2.30 percent in 2011 as per government census data. Karnataka saw a similar fall, with the proportion dropping from 1.91 percent to 1.87 percent.