About Us Contact Us Help




Attacks On Christians In India

Deepa Fernandes Prabhu

Christians and Christian institutions are being attacked in India. These attacks which began on August 24 in Orissa have now spread to other states.  What follows is a brief summary of the events framed within a larger picture.

The present wave of attacks against Christians began in the state of Orissa after Maoist groups (Naxalites) ordered the killing of radical Hindu leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23. Fundamentalist groups blamed the Christians as being responsible for the assassination and began a pogrom resulting in the killing and wounding of the faithful and the destruction and burning of churches, convents, schools, social centers and houses.

Assuming the violence to be just an emotional response, many thought it would end in a week but it has not only continued but spread to other states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and even the heavily Christian populated state of Kerala. According to the All India Catholic Union, the violence in the state of Orissa alone has killed 45 and wounded 18,000; hundreds of people are missing including two kidnapped priests, 96 churches, 5 convents, 11 schools and 4 NGO (Non-Governmental Organization) offices have been destroyed; 300 villages attacked and more than 4000 homes have been burned down/destroyed, forcing many thousands to flee. Of these, 40,000 are still hiding in the forest while 12,000 are sheltered in the refugee camps provided by the government.  The Central government has issued warnings to the State governments within whose territories these incidents have taken place but there does not seem to be much improvement.

    In Orissa where refugee camps have been set up for the escaping villagers, attacks have continued on those who left the camps for brief visits to their homes to tend to the livestock left behind. Mr. Isharo Digal, age 42 of Malipada village, Gutingi was killed on 20th September on his way back to the camp G. Udayagiri. Not far off and also on that same day a Christian girl was raped in Magadengia village when she went back to her village. People from the relief camps are now frightened of returning to their villages fearing renewed attacks.

With the emergence of Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others on the national scene, India adopted a secular path with openness and respect to all religions. Successive governments protected the principle of secularism enshrined and guaranteed by the constitution. After 1999, persecutions of Christians began and the reason given was that Christians are forcibly converting Hindus. The attacks were not only directed against persons and Christians institutions but attempts were made to change the very fabric of the secular democratic constitution and also to rewrite the history of India.  

    Many of you may be asking what can be done. At a meeting on Saturday 20th September, people belonging to various Christian denominations in New England and other concerned individuals met to discuss the issue and a response. This umbrella organization now called People for Peace in India (PPI) hopes to disseminate information to the general media and create awareness about the issue in the hope that sufficient world media attention would put an end to the frenzy of violence that continues. The first program planned is an Interreligious Prayer Service to remember the victims of the recent religious violence. It is to be held on 19th October at 2.00 pm (ending by 3.30 pm) at the Paulist Center (5 Park Street (Boston Commons), Boston MA 02108. Parking available underground at Boston Commons. You are most welcome to join in this as well as to spread awareness through your friends and colleagues. More information is available on the net at  www.peaceindia.net, www.jesaonline.org, www.asianews.it, www.cbcisite.com, www.ucanews.com from where some material for this article was taken.

Bookmark and Share |

You may also access this article through our web-site http://www.lokvani.com/

Home | About Us | Contact Us | Copyrights Help