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Christians Attacked in Passion of the Christ Showing in India

A large group of Muslim fundamentalists have attacked and assaulted Christians who were watching a screening in the Passion of the Christ in southwest India
( [email protected] ) Apr 12, 2005 12:25 PM EDT

A large group of Muslim fundamentalists have attacked and assaulted Christians who were watching a screening in the Passion of the Christ in southwest India, AsiaNews has reported. The attacks occurred in the Kanai Church, which is the oldest church in the Kerala state. In the attack one Christian was seriously wounded and many others were beaten and injured, including women and children.

It was reported that 25 militants from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – a parliamentary wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – burst into the showing of the Mel Gibson film and started beating the audience.

John Dayal, the President of the All India Catholic Union reported to AsiaNews, "These anti-Christian attacks are probably designed to discredit the Congress Party" which currently rules Kerala, and whose Chief Minister is a Christian.

Recently an anti-conversion law has been presented be the State Home Affairs Minister, and added to the attacks, the Christians and the churches in the Kerala state are expressing their increasing worry for the area.

If the Bill passes through, then a much greater strictness may be observed in Kerala. Among many other things, the law would require anyone that chose to convert religion to submit an affidavit to authorities to consent to the change.

In another Indian state of Tamil Nadu, the anti-conversion bill was withdrawn after a long-fought campaign by opponents to the restrictive proposal.

The most recent bid at restricting religious movement in Kerala has been described by the president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, Dolphy D’Souza as "shameful." He said, "The Bombay Catholic Sabha is anguished and pained at the response of Mr Sidharam Mhetre."

He concluded that "if the government thinks it can pass a law against the people, we can tell him that we and other organisations shall launch a campaign" against the anti-conversion law.