Radical Hindu expand their attacks

By February 2, 2009

India (MNN) — New radical Hindu attacks in India have Christians and non-Christian leaders concerned.

Mission Network News talked with Ebenezer Samuel of Serve India Ministries in India. He says 40 men attacked a pub in the state of Karnataka. "They attacked the boys and the girls that were at the pub at the time, saying they were against the 'pub' culture."

Ram Sena, a radical Hindu nationalist group related to the BJP Party, claimed responsibility. Samuel says while Christians, Muslims and other non-Hindu religious groups have been regular targets, average secular Indians haven't been targets. "While the average Indian is ready to accept the changes time brings about, these people have their own idea of what Hindu culture is. They impose this on the average Indian because they want Hindutwa to be the only philosophy that would influence the whole of India."

Samuel says that means these communal nationalist groups oppose all other religious organizations. "That's a great concern in a country where everyone has been guaranteed by the constitution not only to profess, but also to proclaim their faith."

"This is exactly what the Taliban is doing in Afghanistan," says Samuel. This same group attacked an arts school simply because they didn't like the paintings.

While secular Indians are now being attacked, Samuel says Christians continue suffering. He says one of their missionaries in Uttar Pradesh was kidnapped from his home by 30 to 40 men. "They kept him, threatened him, questioned him, and they were even starting to beat him. They said, 'If you continue to do this kind of work, what happened in Orissa will happen here."

Between August and November of 2008, hundreds of Christians were killed in Orissa, thousands of homes destroyed, and believers were forced out of villages and into the forest, fearful for their lives .

Despite the attacks, people are turning to Christ in large numbers. "Recently in these villages in Uttar Pradesh, 100 people who had belonged to a Hindu cult in one village turned to the Lord," says Samuel.

Serve India Ministries has a goal this year to send 800 national missionaries, and your financial support can have a profound impact. "It costs just $35 a month to send a missionary to the villages. Each missionary who works with Serve India Ministries takes care of five villages. And, in five years, he seeks to plant 5 churches in those villages."

If you'd like to help sponsor a missionary, click here.

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