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Posts Tagged ‘Orissa’

A Massacre For Christmas

Posted by Job on December 28, 2008

Rev Ian Brown Prayer for Persecuted in India Matthew 2:16-18; Esther 4:14 | Londonderry Free Presbyterian

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Horrid Hindu Atrocities Against Christians Challenge India’s Pluralism

Posted by Job on November 24, 2008

Horrid Hindu Atrocities Against Christians in Orissa Challenge India’s Pluralism

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Hindu Extremists Paying To Kill Christians In Orissa India

Posted by Job on November 24, 2008

Please read: Being paid to kill Christians

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Violence Against Christians Rising In India Whose Government Is Doing Nothing

Posted by Job on October 15, 2008

In a partial defense of the Indian government, I am not certain that they could protect their Christians even if they were so inclined. First, state action to protect religious minorities in a culture that has no history of respecting individual rights is going to be difficult enough as it is. Add to that India’s gigantic population (1 billion), its tiny percentage of Christians (20 million), and the fact that so much of India is in rural and impoverished with no modern roads, communications, and in many areas no functional government. In light of these challenges, the type of action that the government would need to protect Christians (very disproportionate and heavy handed force) would likely only succeed in triggering a backlash among a population that is already predisposed to disliking Christians (in addition to being viewed as religious traitors, most Christians are underclass, and further Christianity is regarded to their culture, economy, and society, a notion enhanced by the decision of Christians – often encouraged by missionaries – to become politically active and seek alliances) which is precisely what the Hindu radicals attacking Christians in the first place would like to see happen.

So instead of wishing for the Indian government to do more to protect these Christians, we should pray for these persecuted India Christians instead. And we should all realize how irrelevant so many of our western notions and institutions (and doctrines that we have developed around them) are to persecuted and impoverished Christians living in third world and developing countries where they have no functioning economies, no stable or effective governments, no freedoms of religion, speech, or assembly or any institutions or population respecting those ideas capable of protecting them, and almost universal poverty. So again, instead of looking to governments and NGOs to protect these Christians in India, China, Africa, Muslim areas, etc. we need to pray to Jesus Christ on their behalf, and then start doing the same for our own deliverance rather than looking to leaders, governments, or the economy.

Since August of this year, a spate of violence has swept across significant portions of the eastern Indian state of Orissa. More than 30 people have been killed, thousands of homes torched and hundreds displaced. The principal victims have been the small, beleaguered Christian communities. Sadly, they are no strangers to such tragedies. In 1999, Hindu zealots murdered an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his two sons.

The ostensible trigger for the renewed attacks on the Christian communities appears to be the unresolved murder of a local Hindu preacher, Swami Laksshmanananda Saraawati, in August. The local police have blamed a neophyte Maoist terrorist organization, the Naxalites, for his murder. But the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu organization, with ties to the hypernationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), assert that the preacher was killed because of his staunch opposition to evangelical Christian missionary activity in the state. The BJP has sought to pin blame on the Christian community.

Despite expressions of outrage in India‘s vigilant national press and statements of concern on the part of the country’s vibrant civil society about the plight of the Christians, the state government has proven to be appallingly complacent—it has failed to act quickly to stem the violence. The Christians in Orissa—predominantly converts from either lower castes or from the tribal populations of the state—constitute a tiny minority with little or no electoral clout.

The tragedy that has now befallen the hapless Orissa Christians is emblematic of a growing tide of intolerance and violence that is sweeping across much of India. The nation’s disregard for the plight of the Christian minority, which constitutes barely 2 percent of India’s population, constitutes a failure to guarantee religious and cultural freedoms under India’s Constitution. If attacks on helpless minority populations continue with impunity, India’s much-vaunted economic growth may soon be at risk. Violent social unrest is bound to have an adverse impact on foreign investors, raise justifiable concerns about the rule of law and bring on the opprobrium of the international community.

The sources of such religious hatred are complex. In large part they stem from the failure of the once-dominant political party, the Indian National Congress, to uphold the country’s professed commitment to secularism. Instead of adhering to their own political convictions, the Congress party pandered to the Hindu majority, failed to address legitimate Muslim concerns about discrimination in public life while caving in to the demands of Muslim zealots. This clumsy political strategy benefited the BJP, marginalized secular Muslims and contributed to the growth of Muslim radicalism.

One of the principal manifestations of the surge in Muslim radicalism is the recent wave of bombings in major urban centers such as Jaipur, Hyderabad, Bangalore and, in September in the nation’s capital, New Delhi. A shadowy, little-known group, the Indian Mujahideen, have claimed responsibility for the bulk of these attacks and have taunted India’s police and intelligence agencies for their inability to stop these bombings. With elections coming next year, the BJP has not made significant efforts to exploit these tragic incidents. Given that its other policy preferences are not vastly different from those of Congress, it can ill-afford to alienate India’s 100-million-strong Muslim minority. Instead it has been content to allow its acolytes in the Bajrang Dal to wreak havoc in Orissa in an attempt to solidify its Hindu nationalist base.

Since a regional party controls the state of Orissa, the Congress-dominated national coalition government has been reduced to making ineffectual appeals for calm. However, in the absence of concerted pressure on the state government, it is most unlikely that these pleas will be heeded. The small, vulnerable Christian community simply does not count as a viable political bloc. Consequently despite their dire circumstances they can expect little protection from the state.

Fortunately, all is not lost. Public denunciations of this form of violent religious intolerance can remind the national and state governments that the world is not oblivious to the plight of the Christian minority. Such public shaming, though lost on the rulers of authoritarian states, still has considerable resonance in a democratic state like India, warts and all.

Ganguly directs the India Studies Program at Indiana University, Bloomington, and is an adjunct fellow at the Pacific Council on International Policy in Los Angeles.

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Please Pray For Christians In Orissa India

Posted by Job on September 21, 2008

A right wing Hindu extremist faction is targeting them for violence!

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India: Widow of a Missionary killed in Orissa Urges Forgiveness

Posted by Job on January 6, 2008

Original link here. Gladys Staines, who lost her husband and two children in a 1999 attack, writes to the Indian premier calling on the government to “restore harmony” and invites people to learn to forgive. Singh guarantees “respect for all citizens religious freedom, without distinctions”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – An appeal “to learn to forgive each other” and an invitation to political leaders to “restore harmony” among communities, has come from one of the greatest victims of anti-Christian violence in the state of Orissa, the Australian Gladys Staines. Gladys, now in Australia, lost her husband, a missionary, and her two sons who were burned alive in their car on January 22nd 1999 in Manoharpur. Expressing her “anguish and deep concern” over the wave of anti-Christian violence in Orissa where Christians were targeted by activists from the Vishva Hindu Parishad (Vhp), Staines sent a letter to Indian premier Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister of Orissa, Naveen Patniak. In her letter Gladys said, “I am praying for you and other leaders of the country and the state to have strength and wisdom to guide you in restoring harmony and bringing peace in troubled areas. I pray too for normalcy to return as quickly as possible with everyone living together in harmony”.

The Prime Minister’s letter of response, assures that the Indian government will take steps to guarantee religious freedom for all without distinction. “We will take all necessary steps – writes Singh who discussed the matter with Patniak – be assured that we will not tolerate any efforts aimed at disturbing the communal harmony or secular fabric of our country”. “I assure you that the Government of India will safeguard the fundamental rights and liberties of all sections of our society and protect their religious freedoms as enshrined in the constitution”. Hindu fundamental nationalism is strong in the state of Orissa. Since 1968 an anti conversion la has been in place which effectively stops all Christian missions there. (NC)
Jaipur, a missionary is beaten in front of his family and television cameras
Priest seriously injured in attack against Catholic Church
Wife of missionary murdered by fundamentalists back in India
Murderer of Christian missionary Graham Staines asks for early release
Widow of murdered missionary receives award

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Posted in Asia, Christian Persecution, Christianity, evangelical christian, evangelism, Hinduism, India, missionary | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

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