Karnataka erupts again
Karnataka, July 25, 2012: Pastor Pandu Naik, 39, is in charge of The Gypsy Church in Belthadi Thanda, about 12 kms away from Gadag, the district headquarters of Gadag district in Karnataka. He has a congregation of about 25 believers, and he lives in his House Church with his wife, Selvi, 35, and 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl. He has been doing his ministry work during the last 10 years. They regularly conduct their worship service in their House Church every Sunday morning.
On Sunday, 22-7-12, evening, at about 7 pm, one of the believers, one Lokappa organized a prayer meeting at his residence which was attended by 10 other members of their congregation. Just as they began their prayer service, about 20 Sangh parivarists accompanied by some villagers, forcibly entered the house and attacked them. They beat them up and abused them using obscene language alleging that they were fraudulently converting Hindus to Christianity. Three among them, Lokappa Badagar, Sagarappa Badagar, and Kamalavva Badagar were wounded and were treated at the Gadag Government Hospital. In the meantime the radicals lodged a complaint against them at the Gadag Town Police Station alleging that they were involved in fraudulent conversion work of Hindus to Christianity.
On Monday, 23rd July, some pastors, accompanied by a few believers, went to the same police station and also lodged a complaint against the previous night attack. Though the police accepted the complaint, they did not initiate any action against the attackers. The tension continued between the two communities in the village. The GCIC got in touch with both the police as well as the believers and tried to resolve the issue.
Again on Tuesday, 24the July, the Bajrang Dal and VHP activists followed up with the case at the Gadag Town Police Station and pressurized the police to file charges against the Christians and debar and send away 6 Christian families permanently from the village because of their conversion work. The police yielding to the pressures by the radicals, arrested 14 members belonging to the following 6 families – 1) Lokappa Badagar family, 2) Laxman Badagar family, 3) Thakur Badagar family, 4) Vasu Naik family, 5) Sagarappa family and 6) Kamalavva Badagar family, charging them all under Sections – 506, 504, 324, 242,320 and 107 of IPC. They were arrested at about 1 pm and produced before the magistrate at 3.30 pm and were bailed out at 4.30 pm.
However, the police persisted on keeping them in the police station till 10 pm in the night before they were actually allowed to go home. The Police Sub Inspector, Prashanth Kaurave, it is learnt, has ordered them to come to the police station again today, 25-7-12, for further inquiry to find out as to when and where they had embraced Christianity. The GCIC continues to be in touch with them. Please pray for them.
RSS activists disturb Sunday worship and tear up Bibles
Karnataka, July 25, 2012: Pastor Manjappa Byadgi, 30, lives with his wife, Bhavya, 25, and a one year girl child, at his House Church, Salvation Evangelical Church, at Muddebehal about 80 kms away from Bijapur in Karnataka. He has been actively involved in doing the church ministry during the last 3 years. About a month ago there was some opposition to his ministry from the Sangh Parivar activists. The GCIC got in touch with the police and the worship services were allowed to continue.
On Sunday, 22-7-12, as usual, Pastor Manjappa Byadagi was conducting the Sunday worship service at about 10 am attended by about 25 believers, when about 20 RSS workers led by one Ashok, forced themselves inside the church and beat up the worshippers and tore up all the bibles and Christian tracts lying in the church.
Then they also set up one of those who had accompanied them, to bear a false witness as one whom the Christians had bribed and forced to become a Christian, allegedly paying him a huge amount of money. They tutored him what to say and also recorded his statement in a video, thereby creating a false witness against the Christians. Then they phoned up to the Muddebehal Police Station lodging a complaint against the Christians alleging that they were involved in fraudulent and forcible conversion of Hindus to Christianity.
Police Sub Inspector Basavaraj Lamani, accompanied by a few police constables, came to the church and arrested Pastor Byadgi along with his wife and the little child and a believer, and took them all to the police station for further inquiry. They were questioned till late into the afternoon, when the GCIC got in touch with the PSI and intervened on their behalf and got them released. Though they were released, they were warned not to conduct their worship services in that church henceforward. Please pray for them.
Christian attacked in Bellary District of Karnataka
Karnataka, July 26, 2012: Alleged Hindu extremists attack a Christian family, beat them up including two women, damaged their house and accused them of forceful conversion in Vyasmallapura Thanda, Bellary District, Karnataka.
According to our correspondent Rev Noel Kotian, the extremists shouting and beating a Tahndora (drum) on May 28 blocked the believers, stopped them from going to the church and threatened them that there will be a village panchayat on Monday to pass judgment on Devendra Naik and his family for their faith in Christ.
On the same day, Naik reported the matter to the area Sub Inspector, Girish Naik, but the Inspector ignored his call, reported our correspondent.
Subsequently on the next day, a mob of about 50 extremists led by Umesh Naik broke the house of Davendra Naik, beat him up and his mother, sister and father and forcefully brought them to Sevalal temple.
Area Christian leaders intervened and the police summoned the extremists to the station and questioned them. The entire conversation was documented.
The extremists accused Devendra Naik of forcible conversion and claimed that they are ready to go to jail as well stand before the court as witnesses that Naik is involved in forceful conversion.
Thereafter, the police threatened to arrest the Christian’s family on charges of forcible conversion. However, Naik told the police that he was not involved in any kind of forceful conversion, reported our correspondent.
Area Christians leaders submitted a letter to the police officials on behalf of Naik that he was not involved in forceful conversion.
The police thereafter arranged a peace talk between the two parties and reached a compromise. Protection was given to Naik and his family and a constable was posted in the area to see the development in this issue.
In Hadagali Taluk there are about 6 Churches with 450 believers.