Violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses in India escalates as police assist mob attacks
BANGALORE, India—The continuing violence and attacks against Jehovah’s Witnesses in India reveal the country’s hostility toward its own citizens who are Christians. In Madikeri, in the state of Karnataka, police have assisted mobs expressing religious intolerance through illegal atrocities against the Witnesses.
On December 6, 2011, three Witnesses—a man, his niece, and another female—were assaulted by a mob while waiting at a bus stop. The male Witness was kicked and pummeled by the mob, apparently as a reprisal for seeking protection from the Human Rights Commission after being victimized earlier by another mob. In the earlier attack, the male Witness was beaten, stripped of his clothes, and then falsely implicated for charges of blasphemy. This time, according to the victim, the mob used abusive, licentious language, saying that he had not learned a lesson from the previous assault and implying that the current attack was a result of his approaching the police and contacting human rights organizations for assistance. The mob dragged all three Witnesses towards a nearby temple so as to “convert” them, and while making lewd remarks, tried to tear the clothes off of the female Witnesses.
The police came and took the three Witnesses to the police station and filed charges against them rather than the mob, despite the mob’s openly violent and unlawful behavior. The two female Witnesses were granted bail only after spending six nights in jail. The male Witness is still in custody. Later, on the evening of December 6, the police escorted the same mob to a local house of worship used by Jehovah’s Witnesses, and forced the landlord to give them the key. The police then allowed the mob to take the Witnesses’ religious literature from the building and burn it in the streets. Local media covered the incident. The next day, the police again came to the same house of worship and seized all the remaining literature (including Bibles) and the sound system.
Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to seek the protection of their fellow worshippers in India through legal means. “The deplorable and shocking mob violence against Jehovah’s Witnesses must come to a stop,” commented J. R. Brown, a spokesman at the Witnesses’ world headquarters in New York. “It is completely inexcusable for authorities in India to allow and participate in such atrocities against a Christian religious group recognized around the world as peaceful, law-abiding citizens.”
J. R. Brown, Office of Public Information, tel. +1 718 560 5600
India: Local Contact, tel. +91 974 087 1150
Source: JW Media