India Christians fined for worshipping outside

Police in India forced Christians to agree to be fined for worshipping outside their homes after Hindu extremists failed to convert them despite threats and abuse.

Christian Dalits and Hindu extremists from Hunter village, Palamu District met together at the Ramgarh police station on May 10 where the police made the Christians sign an agreement that they would only worship within the confines of their homes or pay 10,000 rupees (US$ 150).

Demonstrators shout slogans as they hold placards during a protest outside a church in New Delhi February 5, 2015. | REUTERS/Anindito Mukherjee

"We were forced to sign the bond, we have no other choice as we have nowhere else to stay except in the village," Pastor Sanjay Kumar Ravi told Morning Star News.

The Dalits are India's lowest social caste or the "untouchables." Aside from the imposed fine, the Hindu extremists also managed to withhold their subsidies of rice, wheat, sugar and other supplies.

"Our names were also cut off from the list where houses were allotted to the villagers by the state authorities," Ravi said.

The pastor shared that the Christian Dalits are now confined to worshipping inside their homes and feel that their movements are closely monitored by the extremists who previously warned them to leave Christ or be beaten up.

The country is predominantly Hindu but Christianity is slowly increasing through conversions especially as it attracts those of the lowest caste.

"You're in a religion that for thousands of years said you're something below human, and then a faith comes that says everybody is created equal, that's a very attractive message," Vice News quoted ICC member and expert in South Asia, William Stark, as saying.

Stark said that radical Hindu ideology interprets following a foreign religion as "defiling India."

The Hindu radicals are infuriated and repeatedly attack the impoverished Christians because they still refuse to abandon Christianity despite being beat up, told to leave, and threatened in multiple ways.