Monday, June 26, 2006

Church attacked, Pregnant Christian woman assaulted by Hindutva fanatics

25th June 06:
As many as 30 fundamentalists belonging to the 'Dharam Sena' (Army of Religion) disrupted a prayer meeting being conducted in a Christian home in Bothli village, Tehsil Gurur of Durg district in Chhatisgarh on the morning of 25th June.

The incident occurred when members of 6 Christian families in the village had gathered together for their weekly worship at the house of one of their co-villagers, a Christian. As the prayer meeting progressed, within a few minutes the house where it was being conducted was surrounded by more than a dozen anti-social elements shouting slogans against Christians immediately after which they barged into the house and started beating up those were present for the meeting.

The attackers inhumanly beat up the Christians and in a barbaric and ghastly act punched and kicked at the stomach of an 8 month pregnant Christian lady who was sometime later taken to the hospital after she complained of a terrible pain. However, due to inadequate facilities at the local hospital, the hospital authorities expressed their inability to provide treatment to the injured lady terming her injury as 'internal'. The local police were quick to take the hospital authorities statement and twisted it by explaining to the local media that it was a minor-injury as a result of which the hospital had discharged the lady without any medication. Thus, the police tried its best to avoid taking action against the culprits by trying to play down the entire matter.

Sharp reactions against this kind of atrocity against the Christian community in general have poured in from different quarters of society. The Chhatisgarh Christian Forum which has been protesting against the increasing number of incidents against the Christian community in the state has been at the forefront in its protests against incidents like these.

When we spoke to Mr. Arun Pannalal of the Forum, he said that the Christian community particularly in the interiors was feeling intimidated because of such inhuman acts and feared that the state machinery was colluding with the perpetrators of such acts. Many Christian groups in the state alongwith the Congress party’s youth wing and the NSUI as well as the Brahman Samaj have expressed their outrage against the attack by the 'Dharam Sena' and have demanded an immediate ban on this organization for trying to ignite communal tension in the state and indulging in unlawful ghastly acts. The Communist Party has called a meeting to discuss the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in the state in the light of the attacks on the Christian community.

It must be noted that these six Christian families in the village had been receiving threats for the last one month from the 'Dharam Sena' to give up their Christian faith or face dire consequences. It must also be noted that when some of the Christians reported the matter to the police and tried to lodge a complaint against the 'Dharam Sena' activists who were harassing them, the police turned a blind-eye to the plight of the Christians saying that they had orders from the top not to take any complaints from the Christian community. Later however, when the local Christians approached the Superintendent of Police he had assured them that no untoward incident would take place against Christians. That assurance however holds no weight after the recent attack on the Christians also involving the beating up of an 8 month Christian woman.

Words are not enough to condemn such merciless acts by anyone on any grounds more so when some anti-social groups try to justify such acts by citing their ideological allegiance.