By BosNewsLife News Center
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Christian leaders warned Friday, July 7, that the Communist-led government in the Indian state of Kerala is attempting to "takeover" schools from Christians and other minorities by introducing measures allegedly aimed at ending the independence of religious education.
The advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) said it was "intrigued and surprised by the unwarranted attack and interference of the government in the affairs of Christian minority institutions in Kerala."
Leaders of various Christian churches in Kerala say the Kerala Professional Colleges Bill 2006, which the parliament passed on June 30, violates minority rights guaranteed in the constitution.
Backers of the new law say it aims to regulate admission, fix non-exploitative fees and other measures to "ensure equity and excellence in professional education."
But GCIC President Sajan K George told BosNewsLife that the legislation would "destroy the unique position of the Christian institutions engaged in providing quality education to the needy."
In a statement, Kerala Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan said his government had "made legislation to provide social justice to all."
Christian protests forced out a Communist government in Kerala in 1959, two years after the first democratic election victory of Communists in the world. Christians launched their liberation struggle when the Communist government tried to take over educational institutions in the state, church watchers recalled.
However Chief Minister Achuthanandan told reporters that if Christians "close down the institutions" this time, "we will deal with it." The row over Christian institutions comes amid growing concern among church leaders over a crackdown on Christians in several parts of India, especially in rural areas.
In one of the latest incidents, four tribal Christians in Toranpada village of Maharashtra state were reportedly attacked by police after asking for protection against Hindu extremists. Members of the local Tribal Welfare Committee had beaten Baburao Mahala, 32, Anil Chaudhry, 23, and a couple identified only as 20-year-old Kalpana and her husband Sunil, 24, on June 8 for converting to Christianity, Christian news reports said.
The four converts filed a complaint at the local police station immediately after the attack. When they returned on June 15 to ask what action had been taken, one police officer allegedly told them: "Ask Jesus to call me on my mobile phone."
Three police officers then asked for a demonstration of prayer, and when the four Christians knelt down, the officers kicked them and taunted them, reported Christian news agency Compass Direct. The officers then filed charges against them for breaching the peace, reports said. There was no immediate reaction from police officials. (With reports from India and BosNewsLife Research).
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