Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 15:56:04 +0530 (IST)

(Attacks on the Christian Community in South Gujarat and other areas of the State)

December, 25th, 1998

1. Ahwa (Dangs Dt.)
An anti-Christian rally is organised in Ahwa the capital of Dangs Dt. in spite of repeated requests from Christians earlier to either prevent or postpone the rally for fear of life and property, the rally is permitted by the District Collectorate. The organisers of the rally are the Hindu Jagran Manch (HJM), a loose outfit consisting of people who belong to the Bajrang Dal (BD), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Sevak Sangh (RSS). The Collector of the District is felicitated at the rally and he goes up to the dias to be garlanded by the organisers. Earlier, Mr. Amarsing E. Vasava, the DSP from Navsari, is posted to supervise the law and order situation in the Dangs (Mr. Vasava is the brother of Mr. Ganpat Vasava the ex-BJP MLA of the Mangrol Taluka who led the attack on Shantiniketan school in Zankhvav in June 1998.

2. Ahwa (Dangs Dt.)
Several inflammatory hand-bills are circulated prior to the rally calling for an ouster of Christian missionaries. During the public meeting of the rally, several inflammatory speeches are made against the Christians and all kinds of slogans like "Christio Chor Hai", "Christi Bhaggo" are raised. Banners and placards also carried these slogans.

3. Ahwa (Dangs Dt.)
About 10 to 15 Adivasi Christian women who were passing through the market place were identified by the people from the rally and stones were pelted at them. Three Adivasi Christian women and one youth sustained injuries. A mob moves towards the CNI church after damaging shops owned by Christians and Muslims. A free for all follows which results in the police bursting tear gas shells and resorting to lathi charge. Several Christians were beaten up by the police even after they entered their compounds and houses.

4. Ahwa (Dangs Dt.)
About 100 to 120 men of this Bajrang Dal under the instigation and provocation of Janubhai. A. Pawar attack the Adivasi Boys Hostel of the Deep Darshan High School run by the Carmelite Sisters of Charity. The window panes and roof of the Hostel Building were very badly damaged. The wanton destruction caused is estimated about Rs.70,000/-. Besides, several provocative slogans were made against the religious Sisters with threats even to kill them.

5. Dolera (Vyara Ta., Surat Dt.)
A group of Hindus under the leadership of the BJP Sarpanch of the Karenchkhed village held a meeting with inflammatory statements and slogans made against the Christians. Later, he tells several Christians of the Karenchkhed village not to hold Christmas celebrations since it would be attacked.

The night of 25th-26th December, 1998

1. Gadhvi (Dangs Dt.)
About 200 persons led by Mr. Baburao Kalu Gangurde, Mr. Janu Navsu Pawar and Mr. Jemsu Navsu Pawar damaged the house of a Christian, Mr. Lakshu Kolga and looted materials worth Rs. 10,000/- Around 9.00 p.m., they damaged the Church in Gadhvi and set it on fire.

2. Subir (Dangs Dt.)
The Navjyot High School run by the Jesuit fathers was attacked by around 150 persons led by Mr. Sanjay Wagh (Sarpanch of Subir), Mr. Motilal Sonu Gamit, Mr. Ramja Sayaju, Mr. Seetharam Shimgu and Mr. Shiv Motare. The jeep and the motor-cycle belonging to the mission were totally burnt. Fr. Anthony and Fr. Osborne who were resident there were also beaten up. A portion of the Subir Adivasi Boys Hostel was also burnt.

3. Jamlapada (Dangs Dt.)
Apparently the same crowd went to Jamlapada village and set the church there on fire. One of the main leaders Mr. Janu Navsu Pawar robbed Rs. 1500/- from Mr. Sumanbhai.

4. Divan Temrun (Dangs Dt.)
The mob went next to the Divan Temru village around 12.30 in the night and started pelting stones on the houses of the Christians there and also on the Church causing much damage to the tiles.

5. Galkund (Dangs Dt.)
Mr. Devdan Pawar of Galkund village was attacked by around 50 persons around midnight. He somehow managed to escape.

6. Nadagkhadi (Dangs Dt.)
Around 60 to 80 persons damaged the tiles of the Church around 8.30 p.m.

7. Padalkhadi (Dangs Dt.)
A huge mob tried to damage and set the Church on fire.

26th December, 1998

1. Waki (Dangs Dt.)
Around 500 persons armed with Trishuls, heavy sticks and iron bars went to Waki village in the night and set the Church on fire. A jeep belonging to the Dangs forest department (No. GRD 7443) was used by the mob. The Galkund Sarpanch, Mr. Dinkar Gawli's house was damaged and they tried to set it on fire. In order to protect himself as an act of self-defence, he opened fire in the air with a licensed gun. While he was doing so, he was hit on the chest by a stone which resulted in some pellets getting sprayed on the crowd.

2. Karadiamba (Dangs Dt.)
The church was attacked and badly damaged by a huge mob.

3. Behdun (Dangs Dt.)
The church was attacked and badly damaged by a huge mob.

4. Galkund (Dangs Dt.)
Mr. Anandbhai Varde, his family and relatives were beaten up by a mob.

27th December, 1998

1. Mulchond (Dangs Dt.)
A mob attacked the Church in Mulchond and set it on fire.

2. Lahankadmal (Dangs Dt.)
A mob attacked the Church in Lahankadmal and set it on fire.

3. Barda (Dangs Dt.)
A mob attacked the Church in Barda and set it on fire.

4. Baripada (Dangs Dt.)
A mob attacked the Church in Baripada and set it on fire.

5. Raochand (Dangs Dt.)
A mob attacked the Church in Raochand and set it on fire.

6. Pipalaymal (Dangs Dt.)
A Christian, Mr. Gamaj Pandu of Pipalaymal village was tied and beaten up.

7. Dongiamba (Dangs Dt.)
A Christian, Mr. Goma of Dongiamba village was tied and beaten up.

8. Karenjpada (Dangs Dt.)
The Church was damaged by a mob.

9. Pipaldaghad (Dangs Dt.)
The Church was damaged by a mob.

10. Gougen (Dangs Dt.)
The Church was completely destroyed by a mob.

11. Umarkhadi (Mangrol Ta., Surat Dt.)
An Anti-Christian rally organised by the Hindu Jagran Manch takes place. Several inflammatory speeches are made and slogan shouted against the Christians. Earlier, vehicles carrying outsiders to the rally shout provocative slogans against the Fathers and Sisters outside the mission campus in Zankhvav. After the rally, a group of tribal women of the village of Umarkhadi are abused and threatened by some of the rallyists. Some stone-throwing follows late in the night. Four Christian tribals are arrested in spite of the violence being created by the followers of the ex-BJP MLA from Wadi.

12. Maninagar in Ahmedabad City
A group of Bajrang Dal youth go around Maninagar in a truck (the license plate is smeared with mud/ dung) and shout provocative slogans against the Christians of the area and literally terrorized the whole locality.

28th December, 1998

1. Divan Temrun (Dangs Dt.)
aTwo-hundred persons went round the village shouting anti-Christian slogans. The mob was led Mr. Janu Navasu Pawar of Gadhvi village and Mr. Babu Rao Kalu Gangurde.

2. Behdun (Dangs Dt.)
The people who lodged a complaint regarding the damage on the Church of Behdun village were threatened by communal forces led by Mr. Sonu Chowdhry.

3. Motikasad (Takiamba, Vyara Ta., Surat Dt.)
Two houses owned by Mr. Sonubhai were damaged by a group of persons led by Mr. Chandu Master and Mr. Laloo Boye of Savardakasad.

4. Unai (Valsad Dt.)
Fr. I. Galdos (of Jivan Jyot, Unai) who was returning from the village of Takiamba Dadadi, is way-laid by two strangers who block his jeep; they move aside and immediately attacking the vehicle with stones. The glass windows of the jeep are broken.

5. Karenchkhed Aakar (Vyara Ta., Surat Dt.)
A Christmas celebration in this village had to be stopped because a mob came shouting and started throwing stones on those gathered.

The night of 28-29th December, 1998

1. Takiamba Dadadi, Vyara Ta. (Surat Dt.)
The Church in this village was attacked and set on fire. The people managed to stop the whole Church from being burnt but they could not prevent the destruction of the crib which was totally burnt.

2. Besunia (Vyara Ta., Surat Dt.)
The Church in this village was attacked and set on fire. Once again, the people managed to stop the fire from spreading and from causing great damage.

29th December, 1998

1. Mathalbari (Dangs Dt.)
The Church was severely attacked and damaged by a mob.

2. Hathijan (Vatva, Ahmedabad Dt.)
A Christmas star by the side of a chapel of a Christian community is attacked and burnt. Christmas stars and decorations from at least six families are destroyed by a mob.

30th December, 1998

1. Dharampur (Valsad Dt.)
Inflammatory pamphlets for an Anti-Christian rally are distributed among the tribals of the Dharampur area. The rally is planned to be held on Tuesday, 5th January, 1999.

2. Jalsod (Dangs Dt.)
A mob attack the village and set fire to the Church at Jalsod village. The mob of over 200 is led by Divse Waral Pawar belonging to the Hindu Jagran Manch. Among the Christians injured are Somrao Warabhai, Seetharanbhai Diveshbhai, Shantiyabhai Sukumar, Sonaben Waralbhai, who had to be hospitalised in the Ahwa District Hospital

The night of 31st December, 1998-1st January, 1999

1. Maninagar (Ahmedabad City)
Whilst Christians are in Church, in the Maninagar area of Ahmedabad, a mob goes around pelting some Christian houses with stones and also damaging at least one shop owned by Christians.

3rd January, 1999

1. Divan Temrun (Dangs Dt.)
The Christian Congregation on their way to Church for Sunday Service is stopped not once but twice by followers of the Bajrang Dal and others and prevented from worshipping.

2. Kosadbari (Dangs Dt.)
A mob belonging to the Hindu Jagran Manch attacks and sets fire to the Church in Kosadbari.

3. Natyanuvat (Dangs Dt.)
A mob belonging to the Hindu Jagran Manch attack Christian houses in Natyanuvat village and also attacked the village Church.

The above, are some of the incidents which have taken place since December, 25th, 1998. However, apart from what is mentioned, what is unleashed is a terror against the Christians. The systematic and planned campaign includes :

Christian tribal women not being allowed to fill water from the village wells Groups of youth and other men, going around villages terrorizing Christians and telling them that for their survival, they must re-convert to Hinduism (most of them sport orange headbands or orange body banners) Tribal Christians, being forcibly taken to the Unai hot-springs for their "re-conversion" to Hinduism Tribal Christians not being allowed to board public buses Inflammatory pamphlets, speeches, slogans etc. constantly being made on Christians A Christian priest in Ahmedabad is denied permission to use an STD booth unless he takes out his cross registering false complaints by instigating tribals spreading false information in the vernacular press constant and consistent attacks on Church personnel and property or of those belonging to Christians

The purpose of all this is evidently clear :

terrorize the Christians as much as possible raise the "bogey of forcible conversions" to legitimize these terror tactics ensure that there is fear and insecurity among the Christians drive them away from their home-place hoping that the HINDUTVA agenda will succeed