Christian rights leader’s home raided by police in India

.- Fifteen Indian police officers raided the home of Christian human rights advocate Sajan George Monday, reported the Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom.

The center is now calling on the central Indian Government and the Indian National Human Rights Council to investigate and halt ongoing police harassment of George and the evangelical Emmanuel Mission International (EMI), which he defends.

George is the head of the Global Council of Indian Christians, based in Bangalore, South India, which works to defend the human rights of India's Christian minority.

George was not home at the time of the raid, so police interrogated his wife and daughter. They reportedly demanded to know about George's relation with Archbishop M. A. Thomas and the organization he founded, EMI, based in Rajasthan.

The police refused the family's entreaties to leave, searched the house, and indicated that they had been wiretapping George's phone.

This raid is the latest example of police harassment of those connected with EMI. The group has been targeted by radical Hindu groups and their supporters in the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which controls the Rajasthan state government. Several of their workers have been detained by Rajasthan police this year; others have received death threats, and its offices have been shut down by authorities.

EMI runs 103 orphanages nationwide, as well as 11,000 churches, over 140 schools and a hospital, and has provided aid to victims of the 2004 Asian tsunami, the Bombay floods, the Gujarat earthquakes and Hurricane Katrina.

EMI founder Archbishop Thomas has received the Mahatma Gandhi Award and the Padma Sheri award, India's highest civilian honor, and has served India's needy for more than years.

For more on Christian persecution in India, go to: http://freedomhouse.org/religion/publications/India/summary.htm

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