Author Topic: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists  (Read 178 times)

ironmike

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1415
  • Karma: 277
Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« on: April 14, 2009, 03:17:15 AM »
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7996827.stm

Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Monday, 13 April 2009 15:48 UK

Religious rift tears at Orissa communities


Many Christians in Kandhamal say prayer is all they have left

By Chris Morris
BBC News, Kandhamal, Orissa

Hundreds of people have gathered in the darkness in the town of Raikia.

Candlelight flickers across their faces as they sit quietly on the floor. They chant and pray as a priest leads them in worship.
For Christians, Easter is a time of hope. But in Kandhamal, deep in the interior in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, hope is in short supply.
This is a community still traumatised by a sudden burst of violence last year, described as the worst anti-Christian rioting in India since independence.
Dozens of people were killed, and hundreds of churches and houses were damaged or destroyed.

Tiny shacks


Homes were burnt out in last year's pogrom...


... now these Christian families live in a makeshift camp

Utsva and Minati Digal have come to celebrate midnight Mass in Raikia, where the parish church still stands.
Last year they were burnt out of their home. Their local church was left in ruins. Prayer, they say, is all they have left.

An hour's walk down the road, they now live with 11 other families in a field. The whole group lives in a single tent, next to a collection of tiny shacks made of wood and plastic sheeting.
Utsva and Minati say no-one will employ Christians as day labourers any more, and the children cannot go to school.
"We are having a very hard time living here," Utsva says.
"We have no protection and there is a sense of fear that at any time someone can attack us. So we try to sleep in the day and take turns to guard our place at night."
Minati also complains that they have not had enough help from the government, and they do not have enough rice to feed everyone properly.
"There are too many of us," she says, as her daughter tugs at the hem of her sari.

"Now we just want to go to any place where we can get our life back. Here we are constantly threatened and targeted."
Thousands of Kandhamal's Christians are still living a makeshift life, and their former neighbours are refusing to let them go back to their homes.
Only if they renounce their faith, convert to Hinduism, and drop charges against anyone allegedly involved in last year's pogrom will they be allowed to return.
In one village Hindus have been told that anyone even talking to the Christians would be fined more than 1,000 rupees ($20; £14).
We went looking for Hindu villagers, and found a small election rally for the Hindu nationalist party, the BJP.
Orissa goes to the polls in the first round of India's general elections on Thursday.

'Dignity'


"If I'm arrested a volcano will erupt" 
Ashok Sahu, BJP candidate

We followed the BJP candidate, Ashok Sahu, to another tiny hamlet, past the ruins of another broken, abandoned church.
But it is the Hindus, Mr Sahu insists, who face discrimination. Hundreds have been arrested, he says, since last year's riots.
"I don't justify violence, but there are two types of violence," he explains. "One is planned violence and the other is spontaneous violence."
"A maximum number of Christians were killed, yes it is a fact, but why? The Hindu sense of dignity has come to the surface in a spontaneous manner and they want to protect that sense of dignity."
Ashok Sahu is now facing charges for inciting hatred against Christians in one of his campaign speeches. He insists that he is the victim of a political conspiracy.
"If I'm arrested," he warns, "a volcano will erupt."

Divisions



All of which is not much comfort to another 43 Christian families who are camped out in a market on the edge of the town of G Udayagiri.
On market days, they are simply pushed with their belongings into a corner.
More than eight months after violent rioting shook this district, there is little prospect that political change will make things any better.

"There are peace committees," says Praful Mallick, one of the men living in the market.
"But the peace committees are full of the people who led the riots. What difference is that going to make?"
A local priest, Father Ajay Singh, says: "In this place where we are sitting presently, you can see they have been neglected by the administration and the public, nobody bothers about it.
"People are divided along caste lines and religious lines, and this election will only make the situation worse."
The plight of Kandhamal's Christians has received international attention. And yet they are still living in a state of great uncertainty.
The roots of the violence here are complex - last year's pogrom broke out after the murder of a local Hindu leader.
But many Christians have simply fled from this region altogether, and there are signs that Hindu activists would like to force the rest to leave as well.
In this election season, Kandhamal remains a test of India's commitment to secular politics, and religious freedom.

« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 03:19:04 AM by ironmike »
 

ironmike

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1415
  • Karma: 277
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2009, 03:28:17 AM »
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article6087988.ece

From The Times
April 14, 2009

Indian Christians caught up in murderous power struggle

Rhys Blakely in Kandhamal


Sonorani Pradhan, 70, near her home that was destroyed in riots last year

The murder squad struck swiftly, emerging from the jungle in the dead of night. At around 2am, about twenty Maoist guerrillas crept into the village of Rudigumma, a clutch of mottled huts deep in the remote eastern Indian state of Orissa. Silently they encircled the house of a worker for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), India's most powerful extremist Hindu group.

Their target, Prabhat Panigrahi, an RSS leader who had been released from prison five days earlier after being accused of inciting religious violence last year, was shot in the back and killed as he scrambled to escape.

The murder in March, its clinical precision a hallmark of India's Maoists, marked the most recent clash between two groups bent on remaking the country. On one side stands the extreme Hindu Right, which wants to expel Western influences and transform India into a caste-based theocracy. On the other the atheist communists, who dream of class war, boast a 10,000-strong guerrilla army and are growing more audacious by the day.

Both groups seem to be using Orissa, a poor state that has become a focus for this month's Indian general election because of its bloody recent past, as a laboratory to test their ideas. The most frightening implications of their experiments are for a third community: the region's minority Christians, who are caught in the middle.
The murder of Panigrahi carried a chilling echo of an earlier Maoist operation in the area, the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, another Hindu hardliner accused of oppressing Christians, last August.

After Hindu extremists blamed Christians for the crime, a retaliatory wave of murder, arson and rape forced 50,000 Christians to abandon their homes. As many as 200 people were killed, according to church groups.

The bleakly beautiful countryside of Kandhamal, the district of Orissa that suffered the worst unrest, remains dotted with ruined Christian villages and charred churches.

The vast majority of those who were forced to flee are yet to return. They include Asmith Digal, a young mother of two who lives in the Mondakia refugee camp, a collection of bedraggled tents guarded by a handful of paramilitary police that house about 1,500 Christians.

She told The Times that her husband, Rajesh, was buried alive last summer by a rampaging Hindu mob. His body was never recovered and no police case was registered.

There are scores of similar stories.

Many refugees have fled Orissa. Thousands of others, such as Sonorani Pradhan, 70, live in tarpaulin bivouacs close to the shells of their wrecked homes. “I have nothing, no family to look after me, no money, no job, and the Government has not even given me a tent,” she said.

Many say that they have been ordered to stay away from their homes and fields until they convert to Hinduism. The plight of Orissa's Christians, most of whom come from Dalit (“Untouchable”) communities that were downtrodden for millennia under India's caste system, has not escaped the Maoists. “They come here to recruit,” confides one Christian villager, keeping his voice low for fear of police spies.

The Maoist movement, which has been identified as the No 1 security threat to the country by the Government, has prospered most in areas of India most seriously blighted by poverty and social injustice, experts say.

The chance of fresh violence in Orissa appears high - not least because the Maoists recently released a list of 15 names, including several hardline Hindus, whom they have promised to kill in the same manner as Saraswati. In Kandhamal, one of the candidates for the Hindu nationalist BJP - India's main opposition party - in the general election faces charges of instigating last year's violence. Manoj Pardham is yet to be tried and is campaigning from prison.

Meanwhile, stuck in the middle, the Christians suggest that they have few options other than prayer.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?sectionName=Current+Events&contentId=5362909&programId=1073754900&pageTypeId=1073754893&contentType=EDITORIAL

Valley of fear


Uncertain future: Nabagini with her newborn and son Lucky   |   Photo: Salil Bera

THE BIG VOTE 2009
Peace and free franchise remain distant dreams for the riot victims of Kandhamal


By Renjith Leen/Kandhamal

In a dingy little tent, Lucky, 4, plays around as his mother, Nabagini Pradhan, feeds his one-week-old sister. But his cheerfulness is in sharp contrast to the wary demeanour of his mother and hundreds of other inmates of the Mundakia relief camp in Kandhamal district of Orissa.

While nursing her newborn, Nabagini seems to forget the trauma of the anti-Christian violence that swept through the hill district in August 2008. She and husband, Paritrana Pradhan, escaped from their village, Dandapanga, when hordes of Sangh activists attacked it to avenge the Maoists killing Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23 last year. The couple escaped to the dense forest in the nearby hills with their two sons, and a few days later the police brought them to the relief camp.

Eight months after the violence that claimed the lives of 38 people, uncertainty and fear still loom large over the 3,200 Christians, most of them Kui tribals, in the relief camps of Raikia, Udayagiri, Tikabali and Nuagaon blocks of Kandhamal district. With the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections scheduled on April 16, the BJD, which has tied up with Left parties, has once again brought the issues of secularism and Kandhamal to the forefront.

Enroute to the camps, one can see signs of carnage: burnt houses, dilapidated churches and anti-Christian graffiti. In many villages, houses fly saffron flags, allegedly supplied by the Sangh parivar. Apparently, this is done to identify Hindu houses from Christian ones. According to Fr Joseph Kalathil, vicar general of the Catholic church's Cuttack-Bhubaneswar diocese, while some families have returned to their villages, others have taken shelter with relatives in other districts. The recent murder of RSS activist Prabhat Panigrahi in Kandhamal by Maoists has made the refugees even more unsettled.

Even the concern of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for the minorities does not seem to bring any hope to the displaced thousands. "We are not concerned about who will win the elections. No political leader has ever visited us or given us money to rebuild our homes," says Mark Nayak, an inmate of the Mundakia camp. He shudders when he recalls how he and his family fled through the forest with Sangh activists in hot pursuit. Mark hails from Kamaguda village near Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district.

The Sangh parivar is spreading an anti-Christian propaganda, says Mark. So much so that the displaced Christians can return to their villages only if they convert to Hinduism. "Some of us tried to go back a few months ago, but we were threatened," he says. "Our neighbours said we could return only if we become Hindus." According to him, last month the CRPF jawans thwarted an attempt by armed activists to sneak into the refugee camp.

In the government-run camps, the refugees are housed in canvas tents-one each for six families. "Life in the tent is horrible," says Fr Sanathan Pradhan. "In summer, it is extremely stuffy. It is also unhealthy because at night, each tent will have about 20 people sleeping close to each other. There is no privacy and the women find it very difficult."

Roopawati Nayak, 40, an inmate of Mundakia camp, says the food for the inmates is cooked in a large 'kitchen tent' by three families on a rotation basis. The daily ration of rice and dal is supplied by the state; vegetables are a luxury. "Breakfast is usually gruel prepared from the rice left over from dinner. Sometimes we have beaten rice flakes. Lunch and supper is just rice and dal. Once a week we get sabzi," says Roopawati.

Various NGOs and relief agencies supply the refugee camps with clothes, utensils, toiletries and other essentials. Medical assistance is provided by the district authorities and by nuns from the Missionaries of Charity. Some children go to nearby government schools while others are taught by the nuns who visit the camps daily.

Ever since the violence, the missionaries are wary while travelling. Fr Sanathan and Fr Mathew Puthiyedom of Phulbani say they are under the Sangh scanner. "The Sangh activists have my photo and can attack me anytime," says Fr Sanathan. Fr Mathew, who has been a missionary in Orissa for more than three decades, says that he, too, is on the Sangh hit list. The two priests say that the Biju Janata Dal's leaving the NDA would not alleviate the tension in Kandhamal. "Even if the BJD comes to power, I don't think it would do anything to help the displaced. If the BJP performs well in the elections, there could be renewed attacks against us," says Fr Sanathan.

The Missionaries of Charity convent at Sukananda near Phulbani was recently renovated after it was destroyed in the attacks. Sitting in the convent, Sr Jessy Maria says: "We still get threats from local activists. They say that we would meet the same fate of Sr Meena, the nun who was gang-raped in Raikia. Though we live in fear, we trust in God and continue our charitable work." She says many nuns now move around in lay clothes for safety.

Tiangia camp, near Raikia, houses around 1,000 Christians. A paddy field separates the camp from the nearby village, to which most of the inmates belong. According to authorities, many houses of the victims are still intact, but they cannot go back since their Hindu neighbours would accept them only if they reconvert.

Damayanti Nayak, 16, an inmate of the camp, occasionally walks across to her village to see friends and her ruined home. "We are tired of the miserable life in the camp," she says. "How long can we stay there? Maybe, my family would convert to Hinduism so that we can live peacefully in our village once again." Her occasional visits are still viewed with suspicion by the villagers. Many of the families that have gone back to their villages have embraced Hinduism, according to church sources.

In many Hindu-dominated villages, the residents hesitate to speak about the attacks and displaced Christians. Most of these villages are festooned with the BJP campaign posters, complete with pictures of L.K. Advani and Rajnath Singh.
According to Jagabandu Das, disciple of Swami Laxmanananda, the fears of the Christians are baseless. "There won't be any backlash if the BJP wins from Kandhamal constituency. We want peace, and I am even ready to organise peace rallies to alleviate the fear of Christians and help them return to their villages," says Das, who is the principal of Gurukul Sanskrit Vidyalaya in Chakapada, 40km from Phulbani. The boys' school, which also houses the samadhi of the swami, provides free education and lodging to 259 students with the help of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.

According to Ashok Sahu, the BJP candidate from Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency, the Sangh is not responsible for the attacks on Christians. He sees the problem as a confrontation between Hindu and Christian tribals. "The Hindu tribals are a homogenous community with their own culture and beliefs. But those who embrace Christianity renounce their culture and beliefs. This is not acceptable to the Hindu tribals, who want their Christian brethren to come back to the old way of life. That is the reason why many Christians aren't welcome in their villages," says Sahu.

"If elected, I would see that peace is restored," he says. "But before that, the church should withdraw its NGOs, which gets foreign funds, from Kandhamal and stop religious conversion. The government should also stress on education and health care in Kandhamal and other backward areas so that people do not go to the missionaries." Sahu also blames the church for its 'unholy nexus' with the Maoists. He says the church had a hand in Swami Laxmanananda's killing. "If the church doesn't withdraw its support to the Maoists, then there will be more violence in the district," he warns.

In view of the sensitive situation, Kandhamal District Collector Krishan Kumar has requested the Centre for additional paramilitary forces during elections. He has also arranged for duplicate identity cards for 2,139 relief camp inmates. "With the permission of the Election Commission we are arranging transportation and security to those who wish to vote. A voter assistance cell has also been set up with a helpline so that victims of violence, who are outside the district, can ask for transportation and security if he/she wishes to come to vote in Kandhamal," says Krishan. Despite the assurance from the authorities, it remains to be seen whether the camp inmates will muster the courage to go to their villages and vote.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 04:22:28 AM by ironmike »
 

morbidenigma

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1055
  • Karma: -23
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2009, 03:32:14 AM »
lol

did u really think India is a secular country?

Muslims in India have to pretend they're Indian nationalists and patriots just to stop themselves from getting burnt alive.
 

ironmike

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1415
  • Karma: 277
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2009, 03:39:19 AM »
^
i agree.
fukk the bjp.
i'd like to meet one muthafukka who supports them, so i can kick the living shyt out of them.

you know i initially thought that pakistan and bangladesh shoudlve stayed part of india, but there's too many intolerant backward hindu fundamentalists who would make their lives a living hell, so i think it was the best thing to do.

but still even now, there's more muslims in india than in pakistan, so india is definately still one of the most muslim populated countries in the world, so the hindus will keep terrorising them, just as the hindus do to the christian minority.

you know, most of the christian minority came from indian hindus who were of the lowest caste of hindus, known as the dalits.
the dalit caste are discriminated and treated like dogs, from no fault of their own. their only fault is that they were born into families of the condemned dalit caste. the dalits are all impoverished because of the generations of discrimination by the higher hindu castes who will not hire them for work, so they're kept poor. the hindu religion promotes discrimination among hindus, by dividing them into castes.

so naturally the hindus of the dalit caste get sick of being treated like dirt by the higher hindu castes, and question why does the hindu religion permit such discrimination on them from no fault of their own, so this turns into an anger and hate for the hindu religion, so they convert to either christianity or islam.

i support all the dalits to reject hinduism, and convert to christianty. if they convert to islam, then i'm cool with that too. in christianity and islam, EVERYBODY IS EQUAL BEFORE GOD.
no dalit indians should tolerate the hindu religion which discriminates against them. they deserve to be treated with the respect and love which god of the bible gives equally to all who believe in him.

the bible says that the poor man will enter heaven first, and the rich man last. why would any dalit in their right mind want to stay with a oppressive religion like hinduism which condemns them?.. the only reason why conversion to christainty or islam among dalits isnt going faster is because, these poor people have been living in these traditions and customs for so long, its hard to break old habbits, plus they might even get persecuted by family members or other dalits who havnt seen the light, and are too brainwashed to know better.

but with that being said, hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dalit indians are leaving hinduism for christianity and islam every year.

thanks to the portugese colonists who brought and promoted christianty in india, and catholic missionaries who have been working in india for decades, christianity is 25 million strong and growing in india. 70% of them are from the roman catholic church, and the rest are mainly from the Syro-Malankara & Syro-Malabar Byzantine-rite catholic churches, but also protestants, baptists and others.
christianity is the 3rd largest religion in india. 1st being hinduism, and 2nd being islam.

so with that being said, hinduism promotes discrimination among hindus, and also promotes intolerance among non-hindus.
so whats the choice for a dailt?....
live as a hindu, and be treated like a dog by their fellow hindus of higher castes? or.....
convert to non-caste religions of christianity or islam, and be treated as an equal among their fellow christian or muslim brothers?....

i think the answer is simple. conversion to christianity is inevidable. either way, they're going to be hated by hindus, so atleast they can have a sense of pride of themselves that they belong to a religion of a god that loves them, instead of a religion of 500 gods that condemn them for being born into the dalit caste . they no longer have to accept being treaded on.
this inturn pisses off the hindu chauvanists, against these former-hindus, because they have rejected the slavery of the caste-based hindu religion.

the result has been that the hindus are attacking the christian community, burning their houses down, and killing them, and raping their women, and driving the christians out of their villages into make-shift camps. all this being done under the thumb of the hindu-led indian government. the government doesnt give a damn, and maybe even helps the religious hindu fanatics to commit these crimes against the christians.

if the government with one of the largest armies in the world wont protect the christians, then they need to organise themselves, and make their own villages, and start their own armed militia to protect their villages. if the hindus try to attack them, then they can be ready to protect themselves. its inevidable that more christians will be killed by hindu fanatics in the future, but as they say, its better to live like a man, than live like a dog. nothing is worse than going back to being a hindu dalit. if there is more blatant persecutions of christians in india, then india will suffer hard from tough UN sanctions spearheaded by america, the uk and france. i dont think the world powers will tolerate any more of india failing to make any attempts to protect christians in their country, when they are very much capable of doing it.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2009, 07:00:36 AM by ironmike »
 

morbidenigma

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1055
  • Karma: -23
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2009, 02:46:19 AM »
are u from India ^^
 

ironmike

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1415
  • Karma: 277
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2009, 03:12:46 AM »
nah, i'm not. its just shyt like this fires me up.

are you from india?
 

morbidenigma

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1055
  • Karma: -23
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2009, 06:30:23 AM »
nah im born in the UK, my parents were born in Pakistan, so naturally i have an interest in Pakistan/India politics and news...
 

ironmike

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1415
  • Karma: 277
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2009, 07:47:40 AM »
cool.
i know a bit about some pakistan politics/history in related to the durrand line agreement . i got alot of afghan friends.
i wont get into that in this thread though. that can be saved for another thread.   :)
 

fatama

  • Lil Geezy
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3
  • Karma: 0
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2009, 12:52:03 PM »
This is a blog dedicated to highlight the issue
..... The Hindu extremist leader is currently in jail and has police has ten
files .... Christians reportedly being forced to convert to Hinduism at gunpoint

morbidenigma

  • Muthafuckin' Don!
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1055
  • Karma: -23
Re: Christians being persecuted in india by hindu extremists
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2009, 01:23:39 PM »
where's the blog