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The Ongoing and Uncontrolled Attack on Christians is the Attack on Indian Secularism and Democracy.
 

 
 

"The expertise to read the signpost of the attack on secularism and democracy in India and monitor accordingly is the need of the hour," said, Ms. Asma Jahangir, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief at her concluding press conference after a three-week mission trip to find the religious intolerance in India early this year.
 
"The Fascism will come to India, in the form of communalism," warned, Jawaharlal Nehru, first Indian Prime Minister.
 
The Independent People's Tribunal conducted a jury hearing of victims of communal violence in different parts of the country in March 2007 and its report is out. The tribunal testified the rise of fascist forces is the attack on Indian secularism and democracy.
 
The ongoing and uncontrolled attack on Christians in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and now spreading to other parts of India is the clear signpost of Saffron fascist forces involved in religious ethnic cleansing. Most of the churches, Christian homes and Christian villages in Kandhamal and 14 other district of Orissa are vandalized. A single Hindu temple is not attacked in whole of the state. What signpost does it give to the eyes of every Indian civil society?
The attack on Christians in India is crystal clear of attack on Indian secularism and democracy. India is proud of claiming of being world's largest democracy, and now every Indian civil society must know the truth of the saffron fascist forces' attack on India secularism and democracy! It must be stopped, sooner is the better, procrastinating will become harder to break latter.
 
Fascism has its different colors and forms in different parts of the world including India, the world's largest secular and democratic nation. Definitely for India, the saffron fascist forces are most dangerous like any other terror fascist forces.
 
The rise of militancy in different parts of the country and their characteristics of operation are the signpost of the fascist forces. Communal violence's base of race, tribe, caste and religions is the neo face of fascism. It is the fascism between religious majority and minority, seen in Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984, Anti-Christian Riots of 1998 in Gujarat, the Gujarat Carnage of 2002, a black Christmas episode of 2007 in Orissa and over 4000 recorded attacks on Indian Christians in 2008.
 
To cover up its true color of saffron fascism, the saffron brigade has materialized the allegation to establish two "greatest enemies" of the country: Terrorism to Muslims and Conversion to Christians.
 
The rise of religious intolerance in the last 10 years in India and the media campaign of saffron forces have intoxicated the public mind that Christians are deeply involved in conversion. This has yet to be proven and no Indian court has found it true.
 
With a selective definition of three enemies, it's easy for Hindutva forces to establish Islam, Christians and Communists as enemies of the nation for the crime of not subscribing the neo-fascist movement of Hindutva.
 
Saffron fascist forces have selected the soft target of Christians after years of attacking Muslims. Selecting Christians as the next target is much more than just the allegation of proselytisation. Dalits and tribes empowered educationally and economically through Christian missions are seen as a threat to Saffron brigades.
These educated and economically empowered Dalits and tribal break the caste structure established by Brahminical heads. The saffron brigade has formed neo-fascist forces to stop minority religious missions from further empowering Dalits and tribals of the country.
 
Tribal Christians of the Dang district of Gujarat, Jhabua of Madhya Pradesh, and Kandhamal of Orissa are major victims of the organized attack by Hindutva forces. The episode of black Christmas in the Kandhamal district of Orissa in 2007 and the ongoing attack in different parts of the country are the latest signposts of the attack on Indian secularism and democracy. In black Christmas, the media reported nine Christians killed, over 90 churches and Christian institutions and over 700 Christian homes burnt and over 7000 lives affected. The economic system of tribal Christians was destroyed to ashes.
 
The ongoing and uncontrolled communal violence on Christians has left over 30 deaths, over 100 churches, 300 Christian villages, 4000 Christian homes burnt down and 50000 Dalit Christians made refugees in forest.
 
These neo-fascist tactics often go untold and unreported. No political party and very few human rights agencies have tried to identify these signposts of attacking Indian secularism and democracy. The young generations particularly of tribal backgrounds are indoctrinated with the neo Hindutva form of fascism in saffron-sponsored schools and institutions.
 
The open acclaim of the Hindutva laboratory of Gujarat in 2002 and its success being announced to apply in all the states is a threatening signpost of the rise of fascism, of which, no one seems to be bothered.
 
The black Christmas of Orissa incident in 2007 and Kandhamal Violence 2008 and the ongoing violence are the recent signposts, in making Orissa into Gujarat II in the wake of upcoming state elections and general election due in 2009.
 
The national law makers have two eyes on dealing the threatening issues caused by the terror forces and they have achieved in terming the bomb blasters as terrorist. The mob terrors caused by the saffron fascist forces like Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Rashtriya Swayam Sangh on Muslim minorities earlier and now on Christians are left out. The mob terror of Hindutva fascist forces caused the damage and lost of lives and properties as much as caused by bomb terrors even more.
 
The bomb terror must be condemned and banned, and then what about the same nature of mob terror caused by the Hindutva fascist forces of which Orissa state government and alike the central have failed to take any major steps to curve the uncontrolled religious ethnic cleansing of Christians in Kandhamal district of Orissa.
 
What can be said about the steps that should be taken to stop the rise of fascism and the attacks on Indian secularism and democracy?
 
Have equal eyes on all the fascist forces, that has attacked on Indian secularism and bring them all equally under the law of the nation, whether they be of SIMI or Bajrang Dal.
 
The legislators are introducing bills to curb the force, fraud and fraudulent conversion while saffron sponsored force (re)conversion is never considered as crime.
 
The preamble of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees the fundamental rights of every Indian citizen, will be under threat, if the rise of fascism and attacks on Indian secularism and democracy are left uncontrolled. Time is now for experts to monitor and identify the signpost.

 
  Fr. Bernard Succumbed to Death after suffering for two months in Hospital  
     
 
  One more death toll of anti Christian Violence in Orissa. Fr. Bernard who was attacked during anti-Christian violence in the month of August in Kandhamal district of Orissa is reported death at Chennai this evening.
 
Sources reaching from Rev. Harichandra, PRO of AICC, Orissa reports that Fr. Bernard was attacked in Kandhamal is last August. His jeep was burnt and he was brutally beaten and left in the open field. He was taken to the local hospital in Bhubaneshwar, and then taken to Mumbai and later to Chennai. She succumbed to death for his faith and in the service of His master at Chennai this evening.
 
The anti-Christian violence reported by Orissa government of coming to the normal is of the fact that there is no Christian left in Christian villages to be attacked and killed by Hindutva forces and not Christian home and church also left in those villages that Hindu fanatics can burn down.
 
15000 refugees in relief camps and 40,000 refugees in forest, refused to return back to their respective homes and villages for the fear of attacked and killed or get forced them to convert to Hinduism. Orissa has Freedom of Religion which bans the conversion, but the conversion to Hinduism is not considered a crime even the nature of fraud and fraudulent conversion carried out by the Hindutva brigades.
 
     
 
World Religious Freedom Day Marked at India’s National Capital
Dharmrakshak Shri Dharma Sena Leaders Arrested For Religious Defamation
SC/ST Confederation Demands Ban on Bajrang Dal, VHP and RSS
 
 
   
 
  New Delhi, October 14, 2008  
 
    
 
 

All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations marked World Religious Freedom Day in India’s national capital today with a large protest against communal violence and demanded ban on Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtrya Swyamseva Sangh (RSS). A Dharmrakshak Shri Dharma Sena leader arrested for defamation charge at the demonstration grounds, Jantar Matar.
 
Hundreds of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe government employees celebrated World Religious Freedom Day. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architecture of the Indian constitution left Hinduism and converted to Buddhism fifty-two years ago on Oct. 14, 1956 in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Thousands of Dalits joined him in an effort to become free from caste oppression. Mr. Vijay Singh, a member of Dharmrakshak Shri Dharm Sena was arrested today at the Parliament street police station on charges of defaming literature and a poster displayed near the rally.
 
Members of SC/ST Confederation urged Mr. Balwinder Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector, who was on duty and in charge of the rallies in Jantar Mantar, to arrest Mr. Vijay under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for defaming another religion and creating enmity among religious
 
Mr. Vijay Singh, a member of Dharmrakshak Shri Dharm Sena was arrested today at the Parliament street police station on charges of defaming literature and a poster displayed near the rally.

Members of SC/ST Confederation urged Mr. Balwinder Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector, who was on duty and in charge of the rallies in Jantar Mantar, to arrest Mr. Vijay under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for defaming another religion and creating enmity among religious communities. Later Mr. Vijay was taken to Parliament street police station.
 
The slogans displayed in the poster were from a booklet called, “Yesu main Sietan hai” – meaning “In Jesus there is Satan” by Mukesh Jain, President of Dharmrakshak Shri Dharm Sena. Another poster displayed read, “Jesus is a Murderer,” “Jesus is terrorist,” and “Jesus came to destroy human beings.”
 
Dr. Udit Raj, Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations said, “Police officials on duty should have quickly arrested Mr. Vijay Singh at very sight of the inflammatory slogans and display of picture. If this display of inflammatory and defamatory literature was done about Hinduism by Christians or other religions, many people would have been beaten.”
Yesterday, NIC met in Balyogi Auditorium, Parliament House, New Delhi and this was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. Dr. Udit Raj was the first speaker and at the outset he said that castism is sometimes more dangerous than communalism. Since caste and identity divisions and rhetoric's was suggested by Dr. Udit Raj at the time of finalization of agenda, therefore, he was most appropriate member to speak on the danger of caste politics. Caste politics outweighs development, education, health and also encourages the leaders of the caste to do anything in order to capture the power. Caste politics has indirect bearings on society and its ill affects like poverty, health, corruption, illiteracy, have far reaching impact. Communalism affects individual and their properties.

 
     
 

Orissa Police Failed to protect me from Rapist and Attackers. I lost my trust in Orissa Police" Sr. Meena
Civil Societies Disappointed at Supreme Court's refusal to order CBI Enquiry on Nun's Rape Case in Kandhamal, Orissa

 
     
  New Delhi, October 24, 2008  
     
  The rape victim of Orissa Anti-Christian Violence came out in public statement in a press conference held in New Delhi today after Supreme Court of India denying the CBI enquiry demanded in a writ petition.
 
Sr. Meena Lalita Barwa, in deep grip over the crime committed against her by Hindu militants says, “Orissa police failed to protect me from rapist and attackers. I lost my trust in them. Justice will be only possible if my case is taken by CBI.”
 
“Very police forces who watched while the crime was committed against me, and who also failed their duty to register my complaint initially and twisted later on and took over 40 days to take action until public outcry pour out. I do not trust in them to give me fair justice and punish the culprits,” says Sr. Meena.
 
Civil societies and Christian communities of India were disappointed at Supreme Court's judgment for refusing CBI enquiry over the rape case on October 22, 2008,
 
Court's refusal to transfer the case from Orissa Police to CBI came for the reason that the accused persons of the rape crime are already arrested by Orissa Police. 
Sr. Meena was working at Divyajyoti Pastoral Centre at K. Nuagaon, Kandhamal District, Orissa before anti-Christian violence broken out in Kandhamal district of Orissa after the killing of Lakshmananada Sarawati on August 23, 2008 by Maoists.
 
     
  Statement made to the Press by Sister Meena  
     
  On 24th August around 4.30 pm, hearing the shouting large crowd, at the gate of Sivyajyoti pastoral centre, I ran out through the back door and escaped to the forest along with others. We saw our house going up in flame. Around 8.30 PM, we came out of the forest and went to the house of the Hindu gentleman who gave us shelter.
 
On 25th August, around 1.30 PM, the mob entered the room where I was staying in that house; one of them slapped on my face, caught my hair and pulled me out of the house. Two of them were holding my neck to cut off my head with axe. Others told them to take me out to the road; I saw Fr. Chellan also being taken out and being beaten. The mob consisting of 40-50 men were armed with lathis, axes, spades, crowbars, iron rods, sticks etc. They took both of us to the main road. Then they led us to the burnt down Janavikas building saying that they were going to throw us into the smoldering fire.
I hide myself under the staircase. The crowd was shouting “Where is that sister, come let us rape her, at least 100 people should rape.” They found me under stair case and took me out to the road. There I saw Fr. Chellan was kneeling down and the crowd was beating him. They were searching for a rope to tie both of us together to burn in fire. Someone suggested to make a us parade naked. They made us to walk on the road till Nuagaon market, which was half a kilometer from there. They made to fold our hands and walk. I was with petticoat and sari as they had already torn away my blouse and undergarments. They tried to strip even there and I resisted and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head, and with sticks on my back several times.
 
When we reached market place, about a dozen of OSAP police men were there. I went to them asking to protect me and I sat in between two policemen. They did not move. One from the crowd again pulled out from there and they wanted to take us in their temple mandap. The crowd led me and Fr. Chellan to the Nuagaon block building, saying that they will hand us over to B.D.O. From there along with the block officer, the mob took us to police outpost Nuagaon, other policemen remained far.
 
The mob said that they will comeback after and one of them who attacked me remained back in the police outpost. Policemen then came to police outpost. They were talking very friendly with the man who had attacked me and stayed back. In police outpost we remained until the inspector in charge of Balliguda with his police team came and took us to Balliguda. They were afraid to us straight to the police station and they kept us sometimes in jeep in garage, from there they brought us to the station. The inspector in charge and other two government officers took privately and asked whatever happened to me. I narrated everything in detail to the police, how I was attacked, raped, taken away from policemen paraded half naked and how the policemen did not help me when I asked for help while weeping bitterly. I saw the inspector writing down. The inspector asked me “Are you interesting in filing FIR? Do you know what will be the consequence?” At about 10 PM, I was taken for medical check up accompanied by a lady police officer to Balliguda hospital” They were afraid to keep us in police station, saying the mob may attack police station. So the police took us to I. B. (Inspection Bungalow) where CRPF men were camping.
 
On 26th around 9 AM we were taken to Balliguda police station. When I was writing the FIR, the I/C asked me to hurry up and not to write in detail. When I started writing about the police, I/C told me this is not the way to write FIR. “Make it short.” So I rewrote it for the third time in one and half page. I filed the FIR, but I was not given a copy of it. At around 4 PM the Inspector In charge of Balliguda police station along with some government officers put us in the OSRTC bus to Bhubaneswar along with other stranded passengers. Police were there till Rangamati, where all passengers had their supper. After that I did not see the police. We got down near Nayagarh and traveled in a private vehicle and reached Bhubaneswar around 2 AM on 27th August.
 
State police failed to stop the crimes, failed to protect me from the attackers, they were friendly with attackers, they tried their best that I did not register a FIR, not make complaints against police, police did not take down my statement as I narrated in detail and they abandon me half of the way. I was raped and now I don’t want to be victimized by the Orissa Police. I want CBO enquiry. God bless India, God bless you all.
 
     
  Sr. Meena  
     
 


Anti-Christian Threats Unnoticed in Rural Karnataka, Recent Violence in Nine Districts outside Kandhamal, Orissa 10000 Civil Society and religious communities came out in Protest against Anti-Christian Violence in Bangalore The blood bath of Innocent Christians must not be utilized for Political mileage

 
     
  New Delhi, October 6, 2008  
     
  Senior leaders from the All India Christian Council (aicc) toured rural churches in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka on October 4-5, 2008 and found intimidation of Christians by police and fundamentalist Hindu groups. In Orissa, anti-Christian attacks continue, largely unnoticed, outside Kandhamal district. Over 10000 civil society and religious communities came out in a protest rally in Bangalore today in protest against anti-Christian violence led by Brinda Karat of CPI (M), Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolon and other prominent leaders.
 
Dr. John Dayal, aicc Secretary General, said, “Outside the metropolitan areas of Bangalore and Mangalore, innocent Christians live in fear since coordinated attacks on churches on September 14th. Police are ordering village churches not to hold Sunday worship services and even requiring them to submit ‘licenses’ to hold prayers.”
 
In Orissa, aicc state leaders said many anti-Christian attacks occurred outside of Kandhamal district in the last few weeks. Most media coverage hasn’t acknowledged widespread attacks after the initial wave on Aug. 25-26, 2008. For example, on Oct. 5, 2008, the Sikuli Church of North India under the R. Madanpur police station, Kalahandi district was heavily damaged in an attack at approximately 8 p.m. There were also reliable reports of 40 Christian homes burned nearby at 10:30 p.m. Police often register these types of incidents as burglary or “land disputes”
.
Rev. Madhu Chandra, aicc Regional Secretary, said, “The rule of law is inoperative and anarchy is prevalent in many districts of Orissa and Karnataka. Especially in Orissa, the state government says the problems are simply a socio-economic dispute between two groups. But the attacks in districts outside Kandhamal and religious slogans used by assailants tell us this is not the truth.”
 
The motive of attack on Christians is seen as to gain the political mileage of Hindutva political parities. “The blood bath of innocent Christians must not be utilized for the political mileage,” say, Rev. Chandra while addressing to a interview by the Voice of India and News 24 TV channel.
 
In addition to Kalahandi district, Christian houses in at least eight other districts were destroyed in recent days including: Boudh, 250; Bargarh, 50; Koraput “undivided”, 50 (this includes four districts resulting from bifurcation: Nabarangapur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, and Jajpur); Gajapati, 313. One Christian was seriously injured in Bargarh and one killed and three injured in Gajapati. Eight churches, mostly Baptist, were burned in Gajapati in September and over 1,000 people remain in two government-run relief camps. Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Orissa’s largest cities, saw violence in September; there was at least one church attacked in each city and a mission in Bhubaneswar was ransacked and literature burned.
 
Violent threats continue to force Christians to leave their homes throughout Orissa. Last week in Dubla village, Balangir district, an extremist Hindutva group came from Phulbani, shouted anti-Christian slogans, and intimidated Christians. On Friday, Oct. 3, 2008, authorities called Christians to return to the village for a peace talk. During and after the talk they were threatened again. The police did not respond to their complaints. The next day they fled to a nearby town.
 
In Karnataka, the aicc survey found:
 
-- Pastor Christu Das of a Believers Church in Kayarthada in Belthangandy D-K stopped a sword attack with his arm, which now is in thick plaster. His wife was also attacked. The state only gave him Rs. 1,005 from the Taluk office in spite of promises of larger sums by officials. He was told not to hold church services by local Hindutva activists who stopped and questioned visitors. The police are nowhere to be seen.
 
-- At other churches, belonging to Believers Church, Indian Pentecostal Church, and other evangelical denominations, lone unarmed police or home guards sit and told the clergy not to carry out religious work. -- Senior police and administrative officers met the wounded only in hospitals and have not visited the devastated churches in these rural areas.
 
-- In multiple cases, police visited churches before the violence and warned pastors to be cautious. They were missing when the actual violence occurred. Then they appeared within minutes of the attacks as if they were waiting close by. At some churches, they forced the pastor and associates to clean up the damage before the press were allowed to take pictures. In one case, attempts were made to wipe out evidence of attempted arson.
 
“What were the police trying to hide and who where they attempting to protect? We are afraid that, beyond the glare of television and the reach of newspaper reporters, the fundamentalist Hindutva groups and the police are ensuring that the law cannot take its due course and the culprits will never be caught,” said Dayal. “We are especially hurt by the mocking tone of the Karnataka Home Minister, V.S. Acharya, his continuing verbal attacks on the church including the Roman Catholic leadership as well as New Life Fellowship and its pastors, his defense of the assailants, and his constant proposals for a moratorium on conversions.”
 
Kandhamal district is the epicenter of violence against Christians which started on Aug. 23, 2008 after the murder of a controversial swami by unknown assailants. Right wing Hindu groups blamed Christians. This weekend, Maoist guerilla leaders again claimed responsibility for the killings in interviews with multiple Indian news organizations.
 
The aicc recorded dozens of anti-Christian attacks in other states since Aug. 23, 2008. These include: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, New Delhi, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttaranchal.
 
     
 

They told me, return to Hinduism or die’
Fanatics Force Tribals to “Reconvert” in Kandhamal 

 
     
  6 Oct 2008, 0106 hrs IST, Anand Soondas, Times of India,  
     
 

NUAGAM (KANDHMAL): At the infamous Nuagam relief camp near Baliguda, where a nun was allegedly raped on August 25 and where today there are about 2,000 tribals bunched up around leaky tents and on ground wet from flooding, Johan Naik and four others like him stand out as the most wretched.

"We are accursed," says Johan, rubbing his gnarled hand on his bald head. A month ago, as rampaging Hindu mobs ran through Kandhmal, looting, burning and pillaging, around 400 men converged at his house in Pirigada, a cluster of Protestant houses in Nuagam block. There, with swords unsheathed and drunk on the righteous rage of bigots, five of them gave Johan a choice. "You either embrace Hinduism or you die," he was told.

Soon, he was dragged to the nearby Patakhanda temple and made to prostrate before the statue of a 'devi'. Someone brought a jar of cowdung and cow's urine and forced him to gulp a bit of it. That was his purification rite and "return home" to Hinduism. And before he could actually make sense of what was happening, a young man whipped out a razor, doused his head in water and began tonsuring him.

"We know we are not Hindus. We never were, because we are tribals, worshipping nature and animals before we took up Christianity when the missionaries came here years ago," Johan said on Sunday. "But because of forced conversions, our brothers think we have let them and our faith down. Now, we are in the middle, nowhere."

In the troubled tribal habitat of Kandhmal, Hindu groups have let loose a wave of "reconversions", almost always at gunpoint and knifepoint, shaving helpless heads and adding them to their list of triumphs. This is an acute trigger leading to the debilitating battle between Hindus and Christians. While Sangh Parivar units are trying to turn tribals, who number roughly 3 lakh here, into Hindus, the aboriginals are resisting it.

There is fear in intelligence circles and even among the police that the violence may escalate further because the Maoists, who have repeated that it was they and not the Christian tribals who killed Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, have tentatively begun siding with the natives and have possibly started arming them.

Sangh Parivar groups denied any of their men had ever attempted to reconvert tribals. "Why should we do it," asked Subhash Chouhan, national co-convener of Bajrang Dal. "The Christian churches and missionaries have let them down and the natives are making a conscious choice to become Hindus. We don't have a single office in Kandhmal." So what about the "ghar wapsi" (homecoming) campaign? "What ghar, whose ghar," he boomed. "This is a reaction of the people against unfairness and excess perpetrated by the Christians. As I said, we have nothing to do with it."

Dand Naik, another one of the bald-headed men at Nuagam camp, waved his finger in anger and desperation. "I can tell you the names of those who shaved off my hair. Gurunam Patra, Satyaban Patra, Bhagavan Chaudhary, Subhash Sahu, Upendra Patra..." he trails off. "How could we have fought them? It was life versus faith and we chose life."

 
     
 

India’s Anti-Christian Violence Unparalleled Among World Democracies
Orissa violence continues unabated and enters seventh week as police neglect duties

 
     
  NEW DELHI – October 4, 2008, 12:20 hrs.  
     
  Despite the deployment of thousands of central and state law enforcement troops, the violence in Orissa continues to inflict daily casualties and massive damage to Christian properties.
 
Rev. Madhu Chandra, All India Christian Council (aicc) Regional Secretary, said, “The death tolls are climbing, but less than a hundred are confirmed. Perhaps this is why the Orissa attacks haven’t gained international attention the worst violation of the freedom of religion in any democracy in recent history. What most people don’t realize is the goal of the attackers is to inspire fear. The attackers believe India is only for Hindus and their stated purpose is to convert people to Hinduism or force them to leave. To accomplish this, they only need to kill one or two people in each village or church. This is clearly terrorism and ethnic cleansing, but few Indian leaders are admitting it.” Most of the victims are Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, from a tribe called Pano.
 
Dr. Joseph D’souza, aicc president, said, “The events of the last month, not only the attacks but the negligence of government, would be sad if it happened in a dictatorship or a totalitarian regime. The fact that it’s happening in the world’s largest democracy makes it infinitely sadder.”
 
Some police, mostly in rural areas, are neglecting their duties. For example, a Roman Catholic nun was raped amidst mob violence on Aug. 25, 2008, in Kanjemandi village between Raikia and Balliguda, Kandhamal District, Orissa. A medical examination of the nun conducted that night at the Balliguda Hospital confirmed rape. Both the victim and a priest, who tried to defend her and was severely beaten, tried to file cases in the Nuagaon police station. Their “First Information Reports” (FIR) were rejected. Eventually, the same FIR was accepted at the Balliguda police station. But, in spite of numerous eye witnesses, police didn’t investigate until 38 days after the attack and made four arrests yesterday.
 
India’s Supreme Court said on Aug. 8, 2008 that any police officer who turns away a person without registering his or her complaint could face contempt of court charges and imprisonment (see “Cops understand only crack of whip, says Supreme Court” by Dhananjay Mahapatra, Times of India, Aug. 9, 2008). Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice G.S. Singhvi instructed victims to appeal to their local chief judicial magistrate or the chief metropolitan magistrate. Ironically, the decision was scheduled for review on Aug. 25th, the same day as the attack on the nun.
 
“We demand that the officials in Orissa follow the law. We know multiple cases where Christians have tried to file cases with police after being attacked and the police turned them away. Police say they are overwhelmed and don’t have time to file cases or investigate since they must focus on maintaining order. But surely they realize that, unless crimes are promptly punished, the perpetrators are indirectly encouraged to continue their crimes. Justice is being denied to hundreds of victims,” said Chandra.
 
There has been no news about a second rape case. A young nun of the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Roman Catholic diocese working at Jan Vikas Kendra, a social service centre near Nuagaon, was reportedly gang raped by mobs on Aug. 24, 2008.
 
Similar violence lasted about a week over Christmas 2007. Some are calling it “Christian-Hindu clashes” but media reports and aicc Orissa state leaders confirm that Christians are the overwhelming victims and are not instigating attacks. There are scattered reports of Christians firing guns in self-defense. The current violence is entering its seventh week since it began on Aug. 23, 2008 after the killing of a controversial swami by unknown assailants. Extremist groups blamed Christians for the murder.
 
The violence spread to at least ten other states and has affected hundreds of churches and thousands of Indian Christians. Within Orissa, the violence spread to almost half of the districts, and then was contained to Kandhamal District. But now attacks are spreading again with incidents reported in Gajapati and Boudh districts in the last few days.
 
Other examples of recent violence include:
 
Sept. 26th - G. Udayagiri, Kandhamal District: A young Christian man named Rajesh Digal was on his way home from Chennai. While walking with his Hindu friend, they were attacked. The Hindu man was stabbed in the left side but escaped. Rajesh was buried alive.
 
Sept. 30th - Rudangia, Kandhamal District: About 60 houses of Christians were burned in the morning, and one Christian lady was shot and killed while seven others were injured.
Oct. 2nd - Sindhipakali, Kandhamal District: At 8 p.m., mobs attacked the village and set Christian houses on fire. They stabbed and killed a father and his teenage son in 9th standard (grade). Both were Dalit Christians.

 
 
     
 



India’s Civil Society Defends Christians in New Delhi Rally
About 15,000 people joined Peace & Solidarity Rally on International Day of Non-Violence

 
     
  NEW DELHI, October 2, 2008  
     
  About 15,000 Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, and Buddhists including politicians and civil society leaders joined the Peace & Solidarity Rally on the International Day of Non-Violence which falls on the 139th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, India’s ‘Father of the Nation’. The protest highlighted recent anti-Christian violence in India.
 
Addressing the rally, Swami Agnivesh said, “The very killers of Mahatma Gandhi are the same killers and abusers of Christians in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country. The killers – the Hindutva fascists – do not represent the peace loving Hindu society. Rather they are damaging the Sanatam Dharma [Hindu way of life].”
 
India’s Union Minister of Railways, Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav, broke his silence over anti-Christian violence across India. Addressing the rally, he said, “I will personally meet the Prime Minister and discuss the implementation of Article 355. I will also bring up the anti-Christian violence in Parliament and debate the hatred of Hindutva forces.” Article 355 of India’s Constitution allows the central government to warn a state government to stop internal disturbances or face federal action and possible dismissal.
 
In the morning, the Chief Minister of Delhi, Mrs. Sheila Dixit, showed her solidarity and expressed concern and pain over the anti-Christian violence. She condemned the Hindu fanatics who are responsible for widespread crimes and causing damage to properties owned by the Christian minority.
 
Other dignitaries who participated in the rally included Mr. Oscar Fernandez, Union Minister of Labor; Mrs. Teesta Setalvad, General Secretary of Mumbai-based Citizens For Justice & Peace; Dr. Udit Raj, Chairman, All India Confederation of Scheduled Caste / Scheduled Tribe Organizations; Dr. Valson Thampu, Principal of the prestigious St. Stephen’s College of New Delhi; Mr. Sitaram Yechury, senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist); Ms. Shabnam Hashmi, senior leader of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy). There were additional speakers from Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu communities.
 
The rally concluded seven days of a “Sit-in Protest” organized by the Christians of Delhi and the NCR (National Capital Region). Major contributors included the Delhi Federation of Catholics and the All India Christian Council (aicc). Beginning on Sept. 26, 2008 at 10 am and ending today at 6 p.m., there was 152 hours of constant prayer and protest at Jantar Mantar – a park in the center of New Delhi – to express solidarity with victims. Most of the victims are Dalits, formerly called untouchables and officially categorized as Scheduled Castes by India’s government.
 
Rally participants shouted “Ban Terrorists, Ban Bajrang Dal,” “Ban Vishwa Hindu Parishad,” and “Ban Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh” as they marched along a 5 km route from Jantar Mantar to Raj Ghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Since the surge in violence beginning in rural Orissa on Aug. 23, 2008 after the murder of a controversial Hindu swami by unknown assailants, civil society groups, human rights activists, and various religious leaders have increasingly called for these Hindutva fundamentalist groups to be banned as terrorists.
 
Yesterday, a delegation led by noted film maker Mahesh Bhatt along with Christian victims from Orissa met the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in New Delhi and demanded refugee status for over 50,000 homeless Christians. The delegation included Dr Abraham Mathai from the Indian Christian Voice and Dr. John Dayal, aicc Secretary General.

 
     
 

The toll of violence against Christians from Aug. 23 to Oct. 2, 2008:

 
     
  BIHAR: 1 Church damaged; CHHATTISGARH: 4 Nuns assaulted; JHARKHAND: 1 Church attacked; KARNATAKA:  4 (of 29) Districts affected, 35 Churches damaged or destroyed, 20 Nuns and women injured by police; KERALA: 4 Churches damaged; MADHYA PRADESH: 4 Churches destroyed or damaged and 4 schools vandalized; NEW DELHI: 2 Churches damaged; ORISSA: 14 (of 30) Districts affected,  315 Villages damaged, 4,640 Houses burnt, 53,000 Homeless, 57 People killed including at least 2 pastors, 10 Priests/Pastors/Nuns injured, 18,000 Men, women, children injured, 2 Women gang-raped, 149 Churches destroyed, 13 Schools and colleges damaged; PUNJAB: 3 Christians harassed and imprisoned by police on false charges; TAMIL NADU: 4 Churches damaged; UTTAR PRADESH: 3 Pastors and a pastor’s wife beaten; and UTTARAKHAND: 2 Christians murdered.  
     
  Living Mission reports persecutions and attacks against Christian missionaries in India.  
     
     
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