Hindu nationalists try to close Christian schools, hospitals and orphanages

By March 6, 2006

Rajasthan (MNN) — Christians continue to be the targets of violence in India’s Rajasthan State. This time it’s with the approval of the state government. It’s hitting the ministry of Hopegivers International especially hard.

Hopegivers Bill Bray tells Mission Network News Hindu nationals are upset with a book of comparative religions that takes a negative view of Hinduism. Bray says it’s not even published by Hopegivers, but the Hindu government is reacting like they did. “In Cota, where our headquarters is located of Hopegivers, they have revoked all of the licenses of all of our institutions en masse. So, the police are going around, putting up cease and desist orders on the schools, on the hospital, on the orphanage.”

Hopegivers health care workers and orphanage workers aren’t giving in, though. “The doctors and the nurses said, ‘well, you can take us and the patients to jail if you want, people will die. We can not close the hospital.’ So, they just stood against them. Then, the orphanage with the 2,500 kids, all of our people are standing their ground,” says Bray.

Hopegivers leadership have been targeted for arrest, says Bray. “Two of our leaders are still in jail. Tthey’ve been in jail for 16 days. They have not been able to arrest Dr. Samuel Thomas yet, or Bishop M.A. Thomas.”

Thousands of people are coming to Christ in India and many Hindu nationalists believe if the trend continues India will become a Christian nation. Bray says these attacks aren’t by accident. “It’s s state-wide organized effort. Threats have been made on the lives of maybe 30 locations of all of our pastors and churches and all over our schools and we’ve had attacks on many places.”

The good news is the national government is concerned about what’s happening in Rajasthan. “The National Human Rights Commission, of the federal government, has appointed an investigator, which is a good sign. So, federal investigators from the central government in New Delhi will be going in to Rajasthan to investigate the break-down of law and order.”

Pray that the tensions will easy in India so ministry can continue. In the meantime, Hopegivers has established a legal defense fund for those that have been arrested.

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