Monday, April 30, 2007

Christian preacher attacked in Jaipur

Special Correspondent

Masked intruders go on rampage in house in the vicinity of Chief Minister's official residence

— Photo: PTI

BEFORE AND AFTER: Getting ready for the attack on preacher Walter Massey are some men who are covering their faces.

JAIPUR: Masked youth attacked and seriously injured a Christian preacher and went on the rampage in his house in the neighbourhood of the official residence of the Rajasthan Chief Minister here on Sunday afternoon. Walter Massey has been admitted to the emergency ward of the Sawai Man Singh Medical College Hospital here. Authorities there termed his condition stable. No arrest has been made so far.

Mr. Massey runs a small congregation, `Masihi Sanghti,' from his middleclass residence at Nandpuri Bazar. The intruders, numbering 15-20, used sticks and whatever came in handy to attack Mr. Masseyin the presence of his wife and child.

His wife Joyce told this correspondent that initially three persons came seeking to meet her husband. When the door was opened, they engaged the preacher in a conversation and in no time started assaulting him. And more men, covering their faces, joined in the attack.

As the attackers dragged a profusely bleeding Massey out of the house, a neighbour Samuel Roberts, who was passing by, rushed to the Sodala police station, half km away.

Ms. Joyce and the child were not hurt though the intruders broke plastic chairs, utensils and furniture.

— Photo: PTI

The image of the bleeding missionary.

Mr. Roberts said there were around 25 men, who covered their faces and were wielding sticks, outside Mr. Massey's residence.

Assailants on video

Additional Superintendent of Police (South) Subhash Vishnoi said the police were trying to identify the persons spotted on a video on the incident telecast by some TV channels. A case has been registered.

The Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind condemned the attack.

Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot termed it a "very serious matter" and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits.

"Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers have once again taken law into their own hands in the name of stopping religious conversions in the State and this is condemnable." CPI (M) State secretary Vasudev said, "The Chief Minister and the Home Minister should take the responsibility for the attack," which occurred in the Civil Lines locality."Hardly four days ago did workers of the BJP-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarti Parishad attempt to attack the CPI (M) State headquarters on Hatwara Road, he alleged.

Engineer Mohammed Saleem, new president of the State Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, said the attack put a question mark on the very existence of a government in the State.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

VHP, Bajrang Dal goons beat Pastor in Jaipur

VHP, Bajrang Dal goons beat Pastor in Jaipur

Event is captured by news channels

By Vijayesh Lal

29th April 2007: Jaipur, Rajasthan

Walter Massey, a Christian pastor was attacked by VHP and Bajrang Dal goons without any provocation. At about 12:30 – 1:00 pm, all of a sudden 20 – 25 VHP and Bajrang Dal people stormed inside Pastor Walter’s home and started beating him.

The attackers were carrying weapons, iron rods, sticks etc. They mercilessly beat Pastor Massey in front of his family and ransacked his home. They broke furniture and destroyed property.

While this was going on a TV camera crew happened to notice the armed brigade with weapons and followed them as they entered Pastor Massey’s home and beat him up mercilessly. This is the version of the camera crew as told to Jaipur Christian Fellowship. There are several questions however. For example how did the camera crew manage to film the attackers while they were getting ready to attack Pastor Massey? How did the camera crew manage to get the tape to so many channels at such a short period of time etc?

A shocked India watched as the 4:00 pm news showed Pastor Massey bleeding from the beatings and being roughed up by the goons, while the family was scared because of the whole ordeal and was unable to help him.

All through the beating Pastor Massey was calling aloud the name of Jesus while people slapped him, beat him with sticks and with metal chairs. Pastor Walter Massey had enough courage to step out of his home and proclaim the love of Jesus Christ to the curious but unhelpful bystanders. He also later on spoke to the camera crew about the love of Jesus Christ and how as Christians we pray for our nation. After this he was carried away to the hospital.

The police initially refused to admit an FIR in this case. It was only when Jaipur Christian Fellowship and other organizations exerted pressure that they admitted the FIR. But even after most attackers can be plainly identified as shown on television for some hours at a stretch now, the police still claim that they are yet to identify the attackers and so have admitted an FIR which says that Pastor Massey had been attacked by unidentified men. The FIR does not mention the VHP or the Bajrang Dal in spite of the attackers themselves claiming on TV that they belonged to the VHP.

Right now Pastor Massey is in the hospital where he is on IV’s. He has difficulty in walking and his eye has been hurt badly. He was beaten up with iron rods so most of his injuries are internal, but he is unfazed. His family however is finding it difficult to cope with the situation. His wife Joyce saw him getting beaten up and his 6 year old daughter is terrified.

Pastor Massey has been in Rajasthan for a long time. He is an ex-worker of the India Every Home Crusade and right now runs his own house Church by the name of Masihi Sangati Kendra. He lives in Nandpuri, near Hawa Sadak, Jaipur, Rajasthan. He had been threatened for a long time by the Hindutva brigade and had even appealed to the police for protection but was given none.

We managed to get his phone number but he was not available so we spoke to the members of the Jaipur Christian Fellowship (JCF). Rev. Jagdish Chandra Sharma, the secretary of the JCF told us that they had spoken to the Home Minister, Mr. Gulab Chand Kataria and that he had assured them of firm action in the case. However on television Mr. Kataria denied any knowledge of the incident. Mr. Kataria is famous for his anti-Christian stance and played a major role in the persecution of the Thomases from Kota, Rajasthan.

Meanwhile the mud-slinging and politicization of the incident continues. The Congress came out openly against the BJP led government and criticized them of practicing communalism to gain electoral mileage. The TV channels also blamed the BJP led government for its failure to curb the Hindutva brigade.

Please pray for the situation in Rajasthan and especially for Pastor Walter Massey. Please also send letters of concern, and faxes to the following:


Phone Number

Smt. Vasundhara Raje,

Chief Minister

(Off) 0141-2227351, 2227462

(Fax) 0141-2227687

(Res) 0141-2228712, 2228713, 2228705

Smt. Pratibha Patil,

Governor of Rajasthan

(O) 0141-2228768

(R) 2228737

Shri Umrao Salodia

Prin. Secretary to Governor

(O) 2228792

(R) 2275132

Dr. Manmohan Singh

Prime Minister of India

Office Address

Room No. 152, South Block,
New Delhi, 110001

Office Tel

23016857 (Fax)

Residence Address

7, Race Course Road, New Delhi

Residence Tel

23011166, 23018939


Parliament House Address

Room No. 10, Parliament House, New Delhi 110001

Parliament House Tel

23017660, 23019817

23014255 (Fax)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Church attacked in Hyderabad

A Church in Kabeernagar under Sanathnagar police station in Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, has been attacked, resulting in serious injuries to the Pastor and a few women, including a minor girl.

On 15 April 2007, some unknown anti-Christian men entered the church when the worship was going on and attacked the Pastor and the believers, including women and children. They also destroyed the sound system and other electronic items. When objected, they kicked some of the believers and tried to stifle a minor girl.

After the attack, the miscreants fled the scene without leaving any trace of their identity. Later the Pastor and the believers went to police station at Sanathnagar and filed an FIR against them.

The police are investigating the case.

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Five held for praying in Hyderabad hospital

Five Christians who visited Gandhi Hospital in Hyderabad to pray and distribute Christian literature were taken into custody by the city police on 14 April 2007.

The five people, including Charan, Rajeswari, Sunita and Mary from Tarnaka, visited the hospital to pray for the patients. During their visit, they also distributed Christian literature among the patients.

Some of the junior doctors who noticed them acted as relatives of the patients and listened to them. Then they informed the police who took them into custody.

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Church converted to Sikh temple in Punjab

Bajrang Dal activists converted a Christian church into a gurudwara in Lehragaga of Sangrur district of Punjab on April 10, 2007. Later Sikh leaders came to the rescue of the Christians.

Sources told the All India Christian Council (aicc) that Pastor Malok Singh from Lehragaga was falsely accused of rape by Bajrang Dal activists. He was arrested under 109 section of the India Penal Code (IPC) on April 10, 2007 and remained in jail until he was bailed after 9 days.

In connection with the allegation against Pastor Singh, Bajrang Dal activists numbering over 100 came and attacked the church. Aicc was told that church furniture was broken and musical instruments were stolen, A Granth Sahib (Sikh religious scripture) was placed inside the church, holy reading of Granth Sahib was conducted, and church signboard was changed into Gurudwara Sahib.

It has also been reported that Bibles were torn inside the church and large number of Christian literature was taken by two lorries to undisclosed place and reportedly burned.

A source said that Sikh leaders along with police personnel restored the church by removing the Granth Sahib placed inside the church.

Church members have filed a complaint against the Bajrang Dal activists at Lehragaga Police Station for provoking enmity among two religions of Christianity and Sikhism. The complaint against the culprits was lodged under the IPC sections 295, 452, 447, 506, 148, and 149 on April 11, 2007.

Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr. Balraj Singh reported to the aicc that the District Magistrate has set up an enquiry commission under the leadership of Sunam Sub-Divisional Magistrate to submit a report within two weeks.

No arrests of Bajrang Dal activists have been reported, while pastor Singh was arrested within short time of the complaint against him.

Pastor Singh reported to the aicc that he was severely beaten up in the police station and forced him to accept the allegation against him. He said that a girl was brought by Bajrang Dal activists to his house and then Bajrang Dal activists locked the door from the outside and accused him of rape.

According to a source, Bajrang Dal had a meeting at Lehragaga on April 18, 2007 and submitted a memorandum to the District Magistrate to sack the District Superintendent of Police for performing his assigned duty to protect the Christian minorities.

Rashtriya Swayamseva Sangh, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party activists have been telling Sikh communities the false allegation that Christians are forcefully converting Sikh communities into Christianity. Hindutva leaders have called for an anti-conversion law in the state of Punjab.

Press Release by Rev. Madhu Chandra of AICC

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Christians beaten up in Delhi

Daljit Kaur and Govindra Singh, Sikh converts and members of New Life Fellowship, Delhi were attacked by members of Daljit’s Sikh family on the night of April 14th, 2007. Govindra was badly beaten and Daljit was abducted and taken back to her home in Hoshiarpur, Punjab. Govindra, a church elder and his wife lead a church cell group which Daljit attended regularly before the incident.

The incident took place because of Daljit’s family’s unhappiness at her decision to covert to Christianity. The family is further agitated due to Daljit’s refusal to marry her Christian fiancĂ© according to Sikh customs.

According to Open Doors International (ODI), Govindra was warned not to take legal action against Daljit’s family or his life would not be spared.

Pray that the hearts of Daljit’s family members will be softened and that they would respect her decision to be a Christian. Pray that Govindra’s safety and that all three (Daljit, her fiancĂ© and Govindra) would be given strength to face this situation.

*Certain names have been changed for security reasons.

Richard Howell

General Secretary – EFI

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Baptist Church in Assam to be made into a car park

Guwahati: The Assam Government has directed a 162 year old First Baptist Church here to hand over its premises to the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority GMDA for construction of a multi-storeyed car parking lot. The Council of Baptist Churches is North East India, CBCNEI, also has its headquarters here.

A CBCNEI delegation submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on 14 March 2007, demanding revocation of the government order issued by Revenue Secretary S Thadou.

The Baptist Church, officially known as the War Memorial Chinch, was established in 1845 by Reverend Cyrus Barker, while the CBCNEI is the largest Baptist group in South Asia with 10 lakh [One Million] members. The CBCNEI was founded in the Nineteenth Century by pioneer American Baptist Missionaries like Miles Bronson, author of the first Anglo-Assamese dictionary, and others who championed the cause of the Assamese language when the British introduced Bengali as the official language of the region. The American Baptist Mission which arrived in 1836 AD brought out the first Assamese newspaper Orunudoi [Sunrise] in 1846 AD.

Emerging from Good Friday service, Pastor Aziz-up-Haq described the order as an attack on religious minorities and said it had come at a time when the Centre was talking about minority welfare. Apart from Assamese, Christians, Hmars, Nagas, Khasis and other ethnic communities also worship regularly in either in the main church building or at the adjacent Louis Memorial Hostel auditorium.

Monday, April 02, 2007

My religion, your religion!

The RSS is working out on a strategy with the help of its frontal organization to counter conversion drive of the Christian missionaries in the state

S Santosh.

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and its frontal organizations like Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram are working on a well-planned strategy to counter conversion activities of Christian missionaries in Rajasthan.

These organisations also sought the help of the BJP government in their efforts to check missionaries’ activities and the government is expected to help them in every possible manner.

The tribal belt of Rajasthan comprising Udaipur and adjoining districts, which are close to Gujarat, are the main target of missionaries to spread Christianity among tribals. The other area of activity is Kota division, which also has sizable tribal population.

Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad has opened its branches in Udaipur, Dungarpur, Chittorgarh, Rajassmand, Banswara and Pratapgarh. It organized a Rashtra Shakti Sammelan of adivasies at Udaipur in the last week of February. The organisers claimed that over one lakh adivasies had participated in the sammelan. The number of adivasies gathered at Maharana Bhoopal Stadium was far less than the claim but it was an impressive show of strength by the Parisahad.

RSS chief K S Sudarshan, a dozen of sadhus and saffron leaders addressed the gathering. The focus of the sammelan was to send a message to the adivasies that they are part of Hinduism.

Sudarshan held a meeting with some mahantas of the area a day before the sammelan at Sanwaliaji temple near Chittorgarh. A resolution was passed in the meeting that non-Hindu should not be allowed to enter the temple.

The government has started Golwalkar Welfare Scheme for the benefit of adivasies in view of the birth centenary celebration of the former RSS chief M S Golwalkar.

State Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram chief Laxaminarayan Chatak announced to contact 70,000 people during Ramanvami and Hanuman Jayayti to collect funds for the constructions of hostels, opening of schools, Sanskar Kendras and to carry out activities for the welfare of adivasies. He said that the total tribal population of the state is around 85 Lakhs and as per the Christian missionaries' plans they would convert around ten percent of the tribals into the Christianity in the next couple of years.

About a year ago, Emmanual Mission International (EMI), which used to run about five-dozen schools, orphanage and such other institutions in and around Kota, was banned by the government after it’s head M A Thomas and other people were allegedly found engaged in conversion activities. The institutions run by the organization have been taken over by the government.

Rajasthan minister for cooperative Madan Dilawar launched a campaign against the EMI and virtually forced the district administration and the police to register cases against Thomas and others.

Thomas challenged the government order in the Rajasthan high court, but the single judge bench of the court rejected his plea saying that the government decision was very much in order. But the government lost the case, when it went to the two-judge bench.

Around this time, the Vasundhara Raje government passed an Anti Conversion Act in the assembly. But when it was sent to governor Pratibha Patil for her ascent, she declined to approve it. She sent it back to the government saying that this king of act could be made only by the central government.

She said that if government is not satisfied with her decision it could directly sent the bill to the President and since than the matter is lying with her. The government has taken the stand that similar kinds of bills were passed by MP, Orissa and some other states and were approved by the governor of those states.

The police had registered a case against Thomas before taking over institutions run by the EMI for publication and distribution of a book Hakeequat, which allegedly carries derogatory remarks against Hindu gods. The government banned the book immediately. The police issued arrest warrant against Thomas. The case is still before the court and the Supreme Court recently gave a directive to the state government not to arrest Thomas till any further order.

Palm Sunday meeting attacked by Dharma Sena in Jabalpur, 7 Christians injured.

By Vijayesh Lal

1st April 2007: Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India

A Palm Sunday gathering was brutally attacked by Dharma Sena activists resulting in injury for seven Christians and one Dharma Sena man.

Members of the St. Paul’s Church belonging to the Church of North India have celebrated the Palm Sunday for the last 20 years by carrying out a procession which starts from the Church in Gokulpur, Jabalpur and ending at the mountainous terrain of the COD, Jabalpur. It has been a tradition for the members to fast the whole day and to break the fast with prayers at the COD. This year was no different with about 250 people gathered in the rally. Many among them were women and children. Police permission had been taken and the administration was in the know how of it.

At about 6:00 pm, when the final prayer was going on all of sudden 30 – 35 Dharma Sena people led by Yogesh Agrawal and other office bearers of the Dharma Sena attacked the crowd. The Sena activists were fully armed with swords, baseball bats, huge bamboo sticks and knives. Since prayer was going on most of the people had their eyes closed and this came as a surprise to them.

First the Dharma Sena people damaged the vehicles of the people breaking glasses and smashing windows and headlights. Then they turned their attention to the Pastors beating them black and blue. Pastor James Masih who is the presbyter in charge for the St. Paul’s Church at Gokulpur was beaten mercilessly and has suffered internal injuries.

The Dharma Sena people then turned their attention to women and children and started beating them with baseball bats and sticks. According to eye witnesses, women were pulled by their Chunnies (cloth used for head and body covering), which amounts to outraging the modesty of women. Even children were not spared. Pastor James Masih’s 5 year old son, who was playing the Congo drum, was beaten by bats.

The food which was meant for fasting people after the prayers was also spoiled by the attackers.

Mrs. Rajni Dilraj, who was also beaten up, told us, “I was having my eyes closed when the attack took place all of a sudden. They beat me on my hands repeatedly with sticks and my hand is in a lot of pain.”

Mr. Rajnish Daniel also an elder in the Church was leading the prayers when the attack took place and he was roughed up very badly. He spoke to us of his injuries. He also told us, “The Dharma Sena people used a lot of abusive language against the women in particular. They also abused our religion and hurled insults at the Christian religion in general.”

When the Christians saw that they are surrounded a few of them started throwing stones at the Dharma Sena activists in self defense. Seeing this, the Sena people fled, but one of them while getting away lost his balance and was hurt a little because of falling down the cliff.

It was not until late that the police decided to admit an FIR against the Dharma Sena activists. One motorcycle belonging to a Dharma Sena man was captured by the police although we do not know about the status of the arrests of the attackers.

The media has chosen to call this a communal clash instead of highlighting the plight of the minority Christian community.

Concerning this incident the Jabalpur Pastors Association has called for an urgent meeting at CARAVS on Monday morning, where in the course of action will be decided.

Jabalpur has been in the eye of the storm for long now and Christians have been intentionally been targeted by the Hindu Fundamentalists and the administration together. This was also observed by the members of the National Minority Commission while on their visit to Jabalpur especially in the wake of the many incidents against the Christian community in the past year.

The Dharma Sena as usual is claiming forcible conversions which is laughable considering that only Christians were gathered for the observance of the Palm Sunday. But a greater question remains, which is: Has the BJP government in the state given the law and order machinery in the hands of the Dharma Sena and anti-social elements like them? For if conversions were alleged why the police was not sent there by the administration?

There have been too many instances in Jabalpur to clearly point out that the administration is hands in glove with the anti-social Hindutva fundamentalists in the persecution and attacks on minorities. Now whether they do this by choice or under direction of their political masters is a question to be answered.