Christian Bashing in India
(This chronological update of attacks on the Christian minority includes only those incidents which have been reported mainly in the National Press or been related by the victim/s directly. Unfortunately, many of such incidents remain unreported for different reasons. The source of information is given at the end of each incident. This Update does not include attacks on other minorities, which take place in India). For Update-1, 2,3,4,5,6,and 7, send em to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Minority Bashing in India
(Reports of attacks on Christian Minorities- January 2001)
1. January 4 Jaher, near Udaipur, State of Rajasthan
All-India Christian Council executive member Samson Christian roported the brutal attack on two Christian priests from Gujarat who were abducted and severely beaten on Thursday night by an armed group of fundamentalists, in Rajasthan's Udaipur district.
In a letter to the Rajasthan chief minister seeking action against the culprits, Samson said that while David Masih, one of the priests, had been hospitalised in Sabarkantha district in Gujarat with broken limbs, whereabouts of Simon Sakria, the other priest, were still not known.
Both the priests had left Gujarat's Himmatnagar district on Thursday to take part in a prayer meeting at the residence of one Rameshbhai D Solanki at Jaher village in neighbouring Rajasthan's Udaipur district to bless his daughter, according to the letter, a copy of which was released to the press here.
The meeting was interrupted mid-way by a group of 40 to 50 heavily armed
persons, who humiliated the priests before taking them away. The Gujarat
Bajrang Dal activists beat up and smashed the teeth the priests who they
felt were on a clandestine conversion mission. Christians here say it is the
most brutal attack in the area ever. Bajrang Dal activists went berserk
assaulting Christians at Jehar village in Rajasthan. The village which falls
in Kotda taluka of Udaipur district is about 25 km from the Gujarat border.
(PTI, Asian Age 6.1.01)
2. January 9,2001, Jarginaju, Phulbani, State of Orissa
A newly built church was wandalised in Jarginaju village under Raikia block of Kandhamal district by miscreants on Sunday night. The police said that a concrete Cross, 3/3 ft in size has been taken away which indicate the involvement of more than two persons. The church was to be inagurated on January 13. (The Statesman, the Hindustan Times, 10/1/2001, New Delhi)
3. January 10, 2001, Ammapalyam, State of Tamilnadu
Unidentified anti-christian activists came to a pentacostal church in a car
and a motorbike at night and attaked the church, pelted stones and broke
lights and windows of the building. The church worker Sunder Rajan (55) was
seriously injured in the attack and was hospitalized in critical condition.
The mission's pastor was attacked with stones and wooden clubs. Rajan and his wife were sleeping in the church premises when they were cruelly attacked. The church community at Ammapalyam had been attacked four times in the past two years, by people suspected to be against christians.
(The New Leader, 1-15- 02-2001 Chennai; UCAN)
4. January 11, 2001, Jaipur, Rajathan
Christian groups in Southern Rajasthan hold the view that the recent attack on two Christian priests in Kotra tehsil of Udaipur was instigated by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad its front organisation for Adivasis - the Vanavasi Kalyan Parishad and the Bajrang Dal from neighbouring Gujarat . Even while acknowledging the prompt action by the Rajasthan Government after the murderous attack on Pastor Simon Zechariah and Evangelist David Masih on January 4 at Jher village in Udaipur's Kotra tehsil they fear the Gujarat Government is trying to protect the culprits who had come in three jeeps from across the Rajasthan border carrying lethal weapons. (Hindu 11.1.01)
5. January 13, 2001, New Delhi
The Hindutva's hit guards are attacking the minorities as defenders of the nation because they see the minorities as enemies in the same way they view the ISI. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad says that it has been keeping a close watch on the activities- of Muslims, Christians and Pakistan's ISI. "Yes, we have been, keeping a close vigil on their activities. There is nothing secret in it. In fact, the VHP and Bajrang Dal have been doing it jointly and are prepared to fight with them", said a VHP full timer before leaving for Allahabad to begin preparatory work for the three day dharma sansad meeting beginning Friday. (Asian Age 13.1.01)
6. January 16, 2001, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Gujarat"s BJP Government has ordered all secondary and senior secondary
schools in the State to subscribe 'Sadhna' which is roughly the Gujarati
version of RSS mouth piece the ''Panchajanya" weekly having an annual
subscription fee of Rs 200. The circular was sent by the State schools
commissioner (Circular from Commissioner[schools] dated 12th Dec.). This
recent move of Gujarat Govt. to make all the secondary and Higher Secondary
schools to subscribe to the RSS weekly SADHANA, and that too at the govt.
expenses is yet another move by the Govt. of Gujarat to communalise the
society. Earlier the state had witnessed the same govt. lifting the ban on
the Govt. employees from doing the work for RSS. Fortunately under pressure,
the govt. had to withdraw the order. This magazine, Sadhana, is full of
hatred against the minority communities. For example in it's latest issue it
denigrates Islam and Christianity as not being for Human welfare in contrast
to Hinduism, which is designed to serve Humanity. This is just an example of
the type of harm it can do to the young minds and further aggravate the
communal situation, which is already posing a serious threat to the harmony
and peace in the society. The Gujarat Govt. in its zeal to bring in the
'sample' of 'Hindu Rashtra', is on regular offensive and is taking up moves
which are detrimental to the intercommunity relations.
(The Hindustan Times, 17/1/01; the Statesman 20/1/01, New Delhi.)
7. January 20, Allahabad, State of Uttarpradesh
The 'Dharmasansad', Religious Parliament of the Hindu Sadhus and Sanyasis that concluded on 20th January at Allahabad, during the occasion of the Maha Kumbh Mela has resolved to oppose conversions and cow slaughter in India. The Dharmasansad said that Hindus should find ways to resist the conversion activities by the Christian missioners. "In India, all are Hindus, there are no Muslims, Christians or Sikhs," said Acharya Giriraj Kishore, the vice- President of VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council). He threatened "a tough stand" by Hindus against conversions and missionary activities in India, where according to him some 82 percent of its 1 billion people are Hindus.
(Indian Currents, February 4, 2001, New Delhi)
8. January 21, 2001, Mattur Dam area, Selem, State of Tamilnadu
A Catholic Servite Nun, Sr. Theonis Mary (61) was strangled to death on January 21st. The superior of the murdered nun, Sr. Folentia Mary said that some unidentified persons attacked the nun in the early morning, killed her robbed the money that she was keeping as treasurer of her St. Mary's Matriculation School.
(Indian Currents, February 4, 2001)
9. January 23, Isa Nagar, Rampur, State of Uttarpradesh
On the early morning of January 23, miscreants attacked Sr. Anatolia, in her late sixties, was beaten on the head at the Isa Nagar Convent of Meerut Diocese. The Nun was critically wonded and was fighting for her survival while the other two nuns injured in the attack were reported to be safe. Patrick Nair, the Bishop of the area said that some 10 to 15 people attacked the nuns but the attackers could not be identified.
(The Hindu, 24/1/2001;Indian Currents, February 4, 2001, New Delhi)
10. January 25, 2001, Bareilly, State of Uttarpradesh
The Catholic Nun, one of the three nuns of a convent school injured in an attack by suspected anti-missionary activists two days before, succumbed to her injuries in a Bareilly hospital on Wednesday. All schools in the area closed for the day following the death of this Sister Superior of At. Anna convent school in Bilaspur village in Rampur district. (Asian Age 25/1/01)
11. January 25, 2001, Udupi, state of Karnataka
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader Mr. K.C. Sudarshan today asked Christians and Muslims to realize their roots and Indianise themselves, saying it would help in reducing communal conflicts and conversion activities. (Hindu 25.1.01)
12. January 26, 2001 Raigarh, Chhattisgarh
With a synthetic saree as their rite of passage, thouands of Christian tribals were converted to Hinduism in Chhattisgarh yesterday. The stadium in Sitapur in Sarguja district, 145 km from here, was the venue for the mass reconversion. As the grounds burnt with 25 havans dug for the afternoon ceremony and the flames fed on gallons of ghee 2200 tribals from 341 families were born again as Hindus at the behest of Dilip Singh Judeo BJP Rajya Sabha M.P. A new nylon saree or a cotton dhoti was handed over as a symbolic way of casting away Christianity.
13. January 26 - 31 , 2001 Gujarat Earthquake and after
There are reports from Quake hit Gujarat of discrimination against the minority and Dalit communities in the distribution of relief material and compensation given to the victims. There are also reports of the Hindutva agencies like the VHP and the RSS saying that 'we do not need Christian help'. The Washington Times report by Janaki kremmer on 29 Jan 2001 said that a Roman Catholic priest was driven away from a hospital when he arrived to help. The priest had said that "Hindu hotheads are trying to dominate the rescue effort". The priest Fr. Prakash said he rushed to a hospital in Ahmedabad after Friday's catastrophic earthquake, hoping to help the overstretched staff cope with the flood of victims. Instead, the priest was shouted at by Hindu volunteers and pushed around until he left. The Government and Hindu rightist organisations are trying to take political milage out of the tragedy.
Ignoring the arrogant and foolish attempts by the Sang parivar organisations to deny any aid from Christians to the victims, the Christian organisations, true to their mission of service to the needy are mobilizing massive relief work in the areas. Pope John Paul II himself has made a personal donation of Rs. 46 lakhs for the victims while CARITAS INTERNATIONALIS from Rome has already sanctioned Rs. 7 Crores with another 14 crores expected from it. Archbishop Jacob Thoomkuzhy of Trichur, the Chairman of CARITAS INDIA, will also was expected to travel to the earthquake affected areas immediately. John Paul II expressed his "great concern" over the violent earthquake that shook western India and appealed for Relief for India's Quake victims. "I am following the news from India with great concern," the Pope said, when he greeted thousands of pilgrims who gathered in St. Peter's Square to pray the Marian Angelus. On Saturday, shortly after hearing the news about the quake, John Paul II sent a telegram to the apostolic nuncio in India, Archbishop Lorenzo Baldisseri, expressing his closeness to those affected and to the relatives and loved ones of the dead.
A combined team of five representatives from CARITAS INDIA and the CBCI
which traveled to Bhuj by road have returned last night. The team is
appraising Archbishops Concessao and Gracias about the grim situation in
Kutch district to plan a better response of the Church to one of the
greatest tragedies of our times. Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, the top
official in earthquake-stricken Gujarat state, said about 125,000 people
were "not accounted for," according to CNN. Authorities are predicting the
death toll from the quake to rise above 15,000 while some aid agencies say
the toll could be as high as 30,000, CNN said. Cutting across religious
barriers, Christian and Islamic organizations have come forward and donated
over Rs 1 crore for quake victims in Gujarat. The All India Christian
Council has given a sum of Rs 1 crore as part of the earthquake relief fund.
The council has also pledged to offer more help. The Caritas is aiming to
Raise $1 Million for India Relief work in Gujarat.
Catholic aid institutions worldwide have mobilized to help victims of the India Earthquake, the country's worst in 50 years. (Zenit News, Vatican; Asian Age, 30/1/2001;The Statesman, the Hindustan Times, 8/2/2001, New Delhi)