Thursday, December 25, 2008

Orissa Christmas update

Christians in Orissa had a "peaceful" midnight mass and  also morning Christmas service amidst tight security across the state. There was absolutely no problem reported any where in Orissa. The arrangement made by the state government was satisfactory. The people in eight relief camps in Kandhamal performed their ritual church practice without any trouble. There were prayers, singing and dancing in Kandhamal and elsewhere in Orissa. 30 churches in Kandhamal were provided with security cover even as villagers held mass prayers last night in their respective places of worship.

There were reports of road blockades from three places in the Kandhamal district and one person was arrested in this connection near Raikia area and the tree logs have been cleared by Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force immediately .The blockades were set up by felling trees at Linepada and Shankarakhole under Tikabali police station and at Katingia under Raikia police station.

The Christmas Service at Barakhama Church is just finished without any problem. I talked to the church leaders . People are happy this year as last year they could not celebrate the Christmas because of Communal riot. The district administration is negotiating with the tribal leaders to conduct a peaceful tribal congregation near Barakhama in Kandhamal this afternoon . However the Tribal Leaders are insisting to hold the death anniversary near the Barakhama Church and have threatened to call another Bandh if they will not be allowed to hold the first death anniversary near the Church. The situation is tensed at Barakhama but under control. The administration had already imposed prohibitory order for the purpose in the disputed.

Thank you very much for your prayer support. Please continue to pray for rest of the evening Christmas service to be held after a short while.

Update from Advocate B D Das

Kandhamal remains tense despite tight security

Kalinga Times Correspondent

Kandhamal, Dec 25: The situation continues to remain tense in this riot-hit district of Odisha in view of a call given by a Sangh Parivar outfit to observe bandh during the day.

Although the hundreds of Christian families attended the midnight mass at the relief camps dotting the district's landscape on Wednesday, those living outside the camps were apprehending trouble.

Despite the fact that the administration had strengthened security arrangements to instill confidence among the members of the Christian community, the district was likely to witness a complete shut down during the day as Hindu Suraksha Manch, a Sangh Parivar outfit, has distributed leaflets across the district calling for a bandh in the district.

Although Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati Shradhanjali Samiti had called off its proposed statewide bandh on Christmas Day, the Manch has appealed to the people to observe a peaceful bandh on the day to register protest against the state government's failure to arrest the killers of Swami Lakshmanananda.

Another factor that had posed problem for the administration was the decision of the Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samiti to go ahead with it plans to organise a meeting in communally-sensitive Barakhama area of the district in memory of Khageswar Mallick, a tribal leader who was killed during the communal violence in the area on the Christmas Day last year.
The head of the Samiti, Lambodar Kanhar, who claims to be the leader of the Kui speaking tribals is a sympathiser of the Sangh Parivar. He is now vying for a Biju Janata Dal ticket to contest the Assembly polls next year.

Patrolling has been intensified and the administration is keeping a close watch on the situation in the district, but outbreak of violence and clashes between the people and security persosnnel are not being ruled out during the day.

Click here for source

Christmas celebrated in Kandhamal relief camps

Kalinga Times Correspondent
Kandhamal, Dec 25: Even as fear continued to dominate the locale in this riot-hit district of Odisha, more than 8000 riot-hit Christian men and women living in the government-run relief camps celebrated Christmas on Wednesday night.

Although the administration had announced that it would provide security to the people wanting go to the churches to attend the midnight mass, no one living in the relief camps ventured out as none of the churches and prayer houses in the riot-hit areas had been repaired till date.

The residents of the relief camps organised attended the midnight mass that they organised at their respective relief camps where they have been living since communal violence broke out following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati on August 23.

The members of the Christian community, however, celebrated Christmas in some villages under Brahmanigaon and Tumudibandh areas where they were in majority. Interestingly, these areas have strong Maoist presence.

There was no Christmas celebration outside the relief camps in the areas that had witnessed large scale attacks on Christian families, their houses and churches.

There was virtually no Christmas celebration outside the relief camps in the hundreds of villages that had been hit by the communal violence that continued for several weeks starting from August 24.

Click here for source

Christmas in Kandhmal amid tight security

It's Christmas on Thursday and for the Christians of Orissa what should have been a celebration is a tense and uneasy day instead. Even though the Sangh Parivar has called off a proposed bandh, there is still concern.
Home Minister P Chidambaram has appealed to the people of Orissa to maintain peace and harmony on the occasion of Christmas.
In a statement, the Home Minister said Christians were worried about their safety after a bandh call by Hindutva outfits demanding the arrest of a VHP leader's killers. However, he said that the Orissa chief minister has assured that there will be no bandh.
Chidambaram also said: "My appeal to the people of Orissa is to maintain the peace and harmony among different communities. I am confident that the Government of Orissa will ensure that Christmas and the days following will be marked by peace and harmony."
The Centre has sent extra forces for security and has also provided a helicopter to patrol over the Kandhamal and Sambhalpur districts.
However, Raphael Cheenath, the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar diocese has expressed apprehensions about peaceful a Christmas in Kandhmal and the rest of the state.

Click here for source

Orissa Update 00:30 hours, 25 December 2008

Bibhu Dutta Das
Advocate , Orissa High Court
Stewart Patna, Cuttack-8

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Orissa tops in communal violence -

Tuesday, 21 October , 2008, 18:11

New Delhi: Orissa has recorded the highest number of communal violence incidents this year, resulting in the death 41 people, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

"A total of 695 cases of communal violence were reported from different states during the period in which 116 people were killed and left 1680 injured," Minister of State for Home Affairs Shakeel Ahmad said in reply to a question.

"Orissa recorded maximum of 159 cases till September 2008 which left 41 people dead and 76 injured. The ministry does not maintains record of the property destroyed during the violence," he said.

In terms of toll, Orissa was followed by Madhya Pradesh where 19 people were killed, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where 11 people lost their lives and Karnataka where three persons were killed.

Ahmed was replying to a question by Parliament Members Naveen Jindal and P Karunakaran. He said the data included recent incidents of violence targeted against the members of Christian community in Orissa in the wake of murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others on August 23 this year.

The Minister said seven advisories and communications were sent to Orissa Government between September 25 to October 18, 2008 at various levels. "Four advisories were sent to Karnataka between September 15 to October 15, 2008," he said.

"Orissa was asked to take stringent action against persons indulging in communal violence, including identification and apprehension of elements inciting communal violence and hatred," the Minister said.

Similarly, Karnataka was also asked to take immediate steps to stop violence targeted at minority communities and their places of worship, Ahmad said.

The deadly spark of anti-Christianism

Wednesday, 29 October , 2008, 23:54
Last Updated: Monday, 03 November , 2008, 17:55

Bhaskar Roy, who retired recently as a senior government official with decades of national and international experience, is an expert on international relations and Indian strategic interests.

"One spark can set a thousand prairies on fire,” wrote the legendary Mao Zedong. He proved it by launching the Great Proletariat Cultural Revolution (GPCR) in 1966 with the slogan “bombard the headquarters”. The Revolution, which had anything, but “culture” in it, ravaged China for ten years till Mao died in 1976.

The not so small spark lit by the Bajrang Dal in Orissa’s Khandamal district, raping, killing, burning and driving out Christians in retaliation to the killing of Swami Lakshmanand Saraswati and some others of his Ashram, quickly spread to Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and even touched Delhi.

Some groups like the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) have become self-proclaimed guardians of Hindu culture. Their actions, however, suggest they hardly understand the meaning of the word culture or “Sanskriti” . Goondaism is anathema to Hindu culture and tradition.

Political leaders of almost all hues have also played their roles by both omission or commission, as the case may be. Although the two organizations are linked to the BJP, a close look at the opinion in the highest level in the BJP would suggest many of them do not subscribe to such acts from their affiliated organizations. Some of the BJP leaders who came and spoke on television talk shows and debates always tried to obfuscate the real issue. In politics, this is understandable, but the issue must be addressed on a much larger context.

The UPA Government at the Centre was, as always, on half measures. Why was the dispatch of paramilitary forces to Khandamal delayed by four days despite a request for the same from the Orissa Government? The explanation from the Central Government that it took time to pull out the forces from other duties, does not appear convincing. The protestations from the Union Home Minister were feeble.

Karnataka, the next most affected state, is an example to be noted. The BJP Chief Minister of the State pretended to be blissfully unaware of the real intensity of the attacks. It was appalling to hear him describe the ransacking and burning of a church by Bajrang Dal mobs as having been caused by an electrical short circuit!

Till recently, vote bank politics was played on Muslims and castes. It would be unfortunate if even the Christians were drawn into it. The Christian community in India has by and large stayed out of the politics of religious divide. Why force them into it now?

Returning to Khandamal, the Maoists have claimed more than once that they killed Saraswati because he was engaged in coercing Christians to return to Hinduism. It has also been reported that there were about forty people armed with guns and other weapons who attacked the ashram. The Christians of Khandamal obviously did not have such weapons, nor did the organization.

Therefore, why did the Bajrangis not take on the Maoists, but, as it appears, used the incident to turn on the weak community?. Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik Naveen Pattanaik is, by no imagination, a communalist. It appears he was not kept adequately informed by his coalition partners in his Ministry and the local administration in Khandamal.

The Khandamal case has another face. It is a struggle between two groups of have-nots. It is a very poor place. There is a question about access to reserved jobs for the lower castes and land. Those who change their religion are no longer eligible for these reserved jobs.

This is an anomaly that the Central Government must address. Reservations are based on historical neglect of certain sections of society. Changing one’s religion on a person’s freewill does not change his historical predicament. In Khandamal, one of the points of contention was the alleged attempt by Christians to hide their religion and lay claims to reserved employment. Unfortunately, these problems were turned to political opportunism, and spread across the country.

The issue of conversion has become a central debate. The Christian missionaries brought education and healthcare to India. They are still involved in these areas. The question is whether they are using these and relief efforts and jobs to entice the have-nots to change their religion. There is a counter question, also. Can groups like the Bajrang Dal and the VHP provide these people with their basic human rights? These are questions that merit a much larger debate at the national level.

The leaders of the church have their responsibility, too. It is a fact that missionaries take advantage of situations at times to entice conversion. The New Light Church of Bangalore owes an explanation to the people about a book circulated that insults Hindu gods and goddesses. The writings of this book reflect the writings in another book published by the Southern Baptists in the USA a few years ago.

The involvement of external interests in religion in India and in other non-Christian countries is not new. But this is no excuse for persecution of Christians for political and economic reasons. If there is a problem, it is for the authorities to investigate and bring out the truth. Vigilante justice on any ground proven, imagined or deliberately construed is unacceptable.

Political leaders of the country must understand that the anti-Christian riots have been taken serious note of abroad. Even Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s attention was drawn to this issue by French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

India is on the verge of entering the highest levels of the global community. Along with China, it is about to enter the Group of Eight (G8) countries. It has broken through the nuclear cage. The successful launch of the Chandrayaan-I moon mission on October 22 took India to the top four countries in the world in this area. India’s membership to an expanded UN’s Permanent Security Council, mainly with western support – the US, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and, of course, Japan -- is on the anvil. The US and the West European countries have strong Christian lobbies, which they cannot ignore. The attacks on Christians in India have been taken note of by the churches, the governments and the media in these countries with consternation.

The political leaders in India must contemplate deeply how far they are willing to risk the country’s destiny for narrow and eventually fragmenting vote bank interests.

The nation’s interests are supreme. But one wrong spark can burn it down.

The views expressed in the article are of the author’s and not of

Heavy security at Orissa churches, temples

Tuesday, 23 December , 2008, 12:32
Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 December , 2008, 12:38

Heavy security at Orissa churches, temples

Bhubaneswar: Armed policemen have been deployed at several churches, major temples and other religious establishments in Orissa as authorities and many Christians apprehend trouble during Christmas in the state that witnessed widespread communal violence in recent months.

"We have posted armed policemen at all major churches across the state. Policemen have also been deployed at Hindu religious places like the Jagannath Temple and the Sankaracharya Math in Puri," a state home department official said on Tuesday.

Around 4,000 policemen and security personnel have been deployed in Kandhamal district, around 200 km from here, which saw widespread communal violence in August and September following the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on August 23. But district authorities have asked for more security forces on Christmas day.

Kandhamal seeks more forces ahead of Christmas

Hindu groups had given a shutdown call on December 25, demanding immediate arrest of all the people involved in the murders that triggered communal violence in the state. On Friday, they called off their proposed shutdown after assurances from the government. Seven people have already been arrested for the killings.

At least 38 people were killed in the state and thousands were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by mobs in retaliation for the murders of Saraswati and his aides. About 8,000 people are still living in government-run relief camps in Kandhamal. Hindu extremist groups blamed Christians for Saraswati's murder, though Christian groups have denied this repeatedly.

The Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati Shradhanjali Samiti, an organisation linked to VHP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), said instead of the rally, it would organise prayer meeting across the state on Christmas day.

Orissa tops in communal violence

Christians fear the prayer meetings may stir further trouble. "This is not in the spirit of peace and harmony. It could lead to miscreants indulging in further arson and attack against Christians," Sajan George, president of the Global council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said.

But Hindu leaders maintain there won't be any violence. "The prayer meetings will be peaceful," said Ashok Sahu, a Hindu leader and a former police official.

State Home Secretary A P Padhi said necessary security arrangements are in place to ensure a peaceful Christmas. "Security measures have been taken for churches across the state," he said.

Kandhamal District Collector Krishan Kumar on Monday said the authorities there have asked for the deployment of more forces. District authorities added that they have organised over 150 peace rallies across the region in the past week and intensified patrolling on roads.

Christian leaders have, meanwhile, asked people in Kandhamal to perform midnight mass as per their convenience.

"Some churches are located in remote forested areas. It may not be safe for some people to return home after performing midnight mass at those churches. We have advised people to perform mass at relief camps itself," Swarupananda Patra, general secretary of the All Orissa Baptist Churches Federation, said.

According to Patra, the Baptist Churches Federation runs around 3,440 churches in Orissa and of them, 1,000 in Kandhamal alone.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Church serial blasts: 11 criminals get death

30 Nov 2008, 0000 hrs IST, TNN

BANGALORE: A local court on Saturday awarded Death sentence to 11 muslim Jihadi criminals and life sentence to 12 muslim Jihadi criminals in connection with the 2000 serial blasts in churches across Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Goa.

Special sessions court judge S M Shivanagoudar, who had convicted 23 people last Friday, pronounced the judgment. All the muslim convicts belonged to the Deendar Channbasaveshwara Anjuman sect. While kingpin muslim Zia-ul-Hassan and his four children are in Pakistan, four others acquitted. Three of the accused died while trying to escape after planting a bomb at a Bangalore church.

Special public prosecutor H N Nilogal had pleaded for capital punishment for all the 23 convicted. The group had triggered six blasts in Andhra Pradesh, one each in Maharashtra and Goa and four in Karnataka.

The CoD (Corps of Detectives) team, comprising DSPs - V S D'Souza, M B Appanna, G R Hiremath and Manthesh - investigated the three blasts in Karnataka churches at Wadi, Hubli, Bangalore and the fourth blast in which the culprits were killed in a van and filed a chargesheet before the special court.

The accused were made to believe that blasts at churches in India would trigger a civil war between Hindus and Christians. A religious leader from Afghanistan would invade and conquer India, which would be converted into an Islamic country.

The serial blasts were carried out by activists of Deendar Channabasaveshwara Anjuman, founded in the 1920s. The conspiracy was hatched in October 1999 in Hyderabad, during the death anniversary of its founder Hajrath Moulana Siddiqui. Siddiqui's son, Zia-ul-Hasan and his four sons, who migrated to Pakistan, had visited Hyderabad during Siddiqi's death anniversary.

On June 8, 2000 two bombs had exploded at St Anne's Church, Wadi in Gulbarga district of Karnataka. The CoD filed chargesheet against 19 accused. Since four of them were absconding, 15 accused faced trial. On July 8, 2000, bombs exploded at St John's Luthern Church, Hubli. The CoD filed a chargesheet against 19 accused, of which 16 faced trial.

Next day, bombs exploded at St Peter Paul Church, JJ Nagar, Bangalore, where the cops filed a chargesheet against 29 accused, of which 17 faced trial. Within minutes, a van carrying people who planted the bombs also went off accidentally on Magadi Road, where two of the accused -- Zakir and Siddiqi -- were killed and another accused S M Ibrahim was injured.

Those Muslims who were awarded capital punishment are: Mohmad Ibrahim (40), Bangalore; Shaikh Hasham Ali (30), Hyderabad; Hasnuzama (55), Nuzvid, AP; Abdul Rehman Saith (50), Chikkaballapur; Amanath Hussain Mulla (58), Bangalore; Mohammed Sharfuddin (37), Hyderabad; Sayed Muneeruddin Mulla (40) -- Hubli; Mohd Akhil Ahmed (29), Hyderabad; Ijahar Baigh (32), Hyderabad; Sayed Abbas Ali (28), Hyderabad; Mohmad Khalid Choudhary (32), Hyderabad.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christian Organization Attacked in Orissa

November 29, 2008:
Suspected Hindu extremists on November 25 attacked a Christian office and set ablaze their vehicle in Parkakhemundi, Gajapath, Orissa.
According to the EFI correspondent in Orissa, the assailants stormed the India Gospel Outreach and Social Action (IGOSA) office and assaulted the director Rev. Niranjan Bardha before completely burned down the organization vehicle. No serious damaged was done to the office.
The Christian filed a police complaint in Parlakhemundi police station. Police investigation is going on but no arrests has been made at press time.
The IGOSA office is set up at an anti-Christian area and they face tremendous pressure and opposition from the Hindutva.The Hindutva had also earlier attempted to burn down the jeep.
Anti-Christian violence continued unabated for over two months in Orissa state from Aug 24 after the assassination of a Hindu leader.
Orissa is ruled by a coalition of a local party, the Biju Janata Dal, and the Hindunationist Bharatiya Janata Party, which has a close ties with the Vishwa HinduParishad.
Please pray for the persecuted Christians in Orissa and that peace will be restored.

Statement by NUCF on Terror Blasts in Mumbai

National United Christian Forum
(CBCI, NCCI and EFI Churches)
Archbishop’s House, 1 Ashok Place, New Delhi – 110001
+91 11 23343457/ 23362058 Fax: +91 11 23746575

Archbishop Vincent Concessao

CBCI, President NUCF

Bishop Dr. Taranath S. Sagar

President NCCI, Vice President NUCF

Rev. Halli Likha

Chairman, EFI, Vice President NUCF

Rev. Fr. Thomas Sequira
Deputy Secretary General, CBCI

Bishop Dr. D.K. Sahu
General Secretary, NCCI

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell

General Secretary, EFI

Statement by NUCF on Terror Blasts in Mumbai

New Delhi 28/11/08

Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, the Archbishop of Delhi and the President of the National United Christian Forum (NUCF), which represents Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), has strongly condemned the terror attacks in Mumbai, one of the worst in the recent history of India.
Extending his heartfelt condolences to the relatives of those who have lost their lives in the violent attack on innocent people for no rhyme or reason, the archbishop along with other members of NUCF has offered prayers for the repose of the souls of those that departed from this world. He has also expressed his "get-well soon wishes", to the injured in these attacks.
Totally shocked at hearing the news of the unprecedented incident on unsuspecting victims, the Archbishop has appealed to all people of good will to come forward to extend all help to the victims and their families in the true Christian spirit of love and charity. He has also appealed to people of all sections of society to keep calm during this huge tragedy that has struck our nation as well as to offer their prayers both for those who have lost their lives and the injured as well as for a lasting peace in our country.
Archbishop Concessao has also applauded the commendable work done by the security forces and expressed special words of appreciation for those 14 police personnel who lost their lives protecting the civilians from the brutal hands of terrorists, putting call of duty above anything else.
Issued by Rev. Dominic Emmanuel on behalf of NUCF

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Secretary, NUCF

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

RSS leader shot dead by suspected Maoists in Kandhamal. Reported by Indian Express.

Phulbani (Orissa), November 5: : After a month's lull in violence ravaged Kandhamal, suspected Maoists on Wednesday gunned down a local RSS leader sparking fresh tension in the area.

RSS leader Dhanu Pradhan, who was said to be on the Maoists' hitlist, was gunned down by three suspected extremists at Kumarigaon village under Brahmanigaon police station area in Kandhamal at 1:00 PM, sources said.

The Maoists had earlier claimed that they killed VHP leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati on August 23, which sparked communal violence in the state.

"We have information that a person has shot dead, but we are yet to confirm on the identity of the victim and the killers," DIG, Southern Range, R S Koche said over phone.

NOTE: Let's hope they do not blame the Christians for this death again. Our sympathies with the family.

India arrests after church attacked

Three members of a right-wing Hindu group have been arrested after an attack on a church in northern India where Christian literature was being distributed, a police official said.

More than 50 activists of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or the World Hindu Council, attacked the church in Choela Buttuwala village in Uttarakhand, Dinesh Chandra, police said.

The church's pastor and two colleagues had been distributing religious literature at the time.

"The VHP activists beat up all three alleging they were trying to convert local residents," Chandra said.

The three men were charged with vandalism, he said.

The latest violence comes after weeks of bloody anti-Christian rioting that broke out in the eastern state of Orissa in late August. At least 38 people were killed, as many as 30,000 left homeless, and dozens of churches destroyed.

The riots followed the killing of a Hindu religious leader. Police blamed Maoist rebels, but conservative Hindu groups accused Christians of responsibility for the death.

The anti-Christian violence also touched other parts of India, with churches vandalised and Christians attacked in the high-tech hub of Bangalore, the city of Mangalore and in the coastal state of Kerala.

About 2.5% of India's 1.1 billion people are Christians, while more than 80% are Hindu. India is officially a secular nation.


Calling itself ‘Savarkar Sena’, mob attacks church, pastor in Dehradun

Rajeev khanna

Dehradun, November 3 : Adding to the alarming tally of attacks on churches, a pastor and a caretaker of a church along with a visitor were beaten up by a mob at Choyla Chandrabani area of Dehradun on Monday. A mob of about 50 people claiming to be the “Savarkar Sena”, roughed up Pastor Hemant, caretaker Ranjit and a visitor, Asher. It ransacked the church, looted the money that was offered by devotees and also took away a copy of the Bible, announcing its intention to desecrate it at a public place in the city.

According to sources, at around 9.30 am the mob shouting slogans like “Veer Savarkar Sena Zindabad” and “Dharam Parivartan Nahin Chalega” stormed the premises of the church which is run by the Bethesda Marg Trust. The police, however, managed to prevent the planned desecration of the Bible at the city Clock Tower.

H S Rao, a spokesperson of the Christian community, told The Indian Express that the three persons were beaten up in the presence of police personnel and Asher taken into custody. “It was only after they had been beaten up badly that the police personnel present at the spot intervened,” he said. After the residents of the area brought the incident to the notice of senior Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana, he alerted the police who then swung into action to prevent the proposed desecration.

Patel Nagar SHO Dinesh Baunthiyal denied the allegation that the persons had been beaten up in the presence of the police. He said that the police had reached the spot after the incident and that Asher had been taken to the station only to ensure his protection.

Dehradun SSP Amit Sinha gave an assurance that the guilty would not be spared. However, no arrests have been made so far.

Meanwhile, Dhasmana attacked the forces of Hindutva stating, ‘‘They are trying to turn Uttarakhand into another Orissa and Gujarat.”

He criticised the B C Khanduri-led Government for failing to protect the rights of the minorities in the last five months.

Click for source

Relief Workers Arrested in Orissa

7 persons, all staff of an NGO called Discipleship Center of Tihidi Block, Bhadrak dist. were arrested on the false charges of Conversion by allurement on at 1.30 pm on 4th November '08. The NGO has been doing social welfare work for a long time in the area. that day, they were engaged in relief work in the flood affected areas as assigned by their office. They were arranging relief materials to be delivered to the flood affected victims at a village called Daulatpur under Sindola panchayat, Tihidi Block of Bhadrak Dist, in Tihidi Block.

The previous day, on their way back from the field, they met with an accident in which two bicyclists were involved. At once a mob of around 500 to 1000 Hindutva fundamentalists gathered and detained them, subjected them to verbal abuse, false accusations and handled them roughly, pushing and slapping them in public for some hours. Finally they were handed over to the Police who produced them before the Court on 5th November.

The complainants, said to be Hindutva extremists, are : Dhiren Rout, Sashikanta Biswal, Jagdish Bal, Sanjay Barik, Sanatana Das, Surendra Sahu, Bikash Ranjan Das and Fakir Mohan Senapati and many other villagers who filed a case no.222/04.11.08 on 153, 34 IPC against the staff of the NGO.The injured persons namely Bikram Keshari Senapati and Budhiram Sethi who belong to Hindu radical groups also lodged a separate case against them vide No. 223/04.11.08 on 279 and 337 IPC. The social workers have also filed a counter case against these perpetrators vide case no. 224/04.11.08 on 143,341,323,294,354 and 149 IPC.

GCIC is following up the matter. Please pray as these persons are being harassed by the Hindu fanatics who were after them for long.

Marxist-Leninist fact-finding report says 500 Christians killed in Orissa in August-September 2008 pogrom, cites government officer

[Marxism] MLIN [Nov.-Dec.08] ML International Newsletter, November-December 2008

Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation international team

Liberation Magazine, November, 2008.

Websites: [] and []

Emails: [] and []

Orissa Pogrom

Fact-Finding Report on Kandhamal Situation

A Communist Party of India [CPI (ML)] fact-finding team visited Orissa's Kandhamal District on 15-16 October, 2008. The team visited affected villages and relief camps, after facing interrogation by the Orissa Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The team also met District Magistrate (DM) and various police officials of Kandhamal district. Below is a report by team member J P Minz.

1. The District Magistrate's (DM) Statement: The DM told us that Kandhamal had been peaceful for the preceding ten days. Whereas there used to be fifteen relief camps, now only seven were operational, having 12,641 people. According to him, breakfast, meals, supplementary food meant for children, and iron and calcium tablets for pregnant women are available in these camps; a doctor is available round the clock; books are available for children and there are
regular reading sessions. Blankets, sarees, buckets and mugs and similar essentials have also been provided.

2. Conditions at the Relief Camps: Our team visited Phulbani, Tikabali, Ji Udaygiri and Rakiya relief camps and found that the inmates of the camp are living in extremely bad conditions. In the
name of breakfast they get only fifty grams of chura (beaten rice) and rice-dal for meals, which is not enough to satisfy the needs of hunger and nutrition. In the name of supplementary food, the children are occasionally given biscuits. Bathing soaps have been distributed just
once in the camps. The doctors do visit but patients are told that there is no medicine. There is no arrangement for pregnant women. The camp inmates sleep on plastic mats on the ground. They have to defecate in the open, which apart from being unhygienic also puts them
in danger. One inmate of Ji Udaygiri camp, we were told, was killed when he had gone to defecate.

3. Role of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal: The victims in all the relief camps unanimously told the fact finding team that it is the VHP and Bajrang Dal cadres who have sowed the seeds of communal division in the villages. They used to organize meetings of
the Kandha tribals and incite them to attack the Christian hamlets and also provided funds for doing this.

4. Role of the Police and Administration: The anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal started on the day of the bandh called by VHP after the murder of Swami Lakshmananad, and these riots continued for over a month. In the communal fire two hundred Christian villages and 127
Church and prayer halls were either destroyed or burnt. Apart from this, schools, hospitals, hostels and convents also have been damaged. The incidents of killings, rape and loot also were carried out in addition to former incidents. The shocking fact is that all these
incidents took place in full view of police and the police remained mute spectators.

The official figure for deaths has been reported to be 31, however, a senior government official on the condition of anonymity informed that he himself consigned two hundred dead bodies - found from the jungle - to flames after getting them collected in a tractor. As per his
estimates based on the intensity and pace of killings the number of those killed is over five hundred.

5. Atmosphere of Terror: The Christians continue to experience great terror. The Sangh outfits are campaigning for sending back the CRPF and the Nikhil Utkal Kui community is threatening to launch an armed movement. Riot-victims are frightened to go back to their villages
because they have been threatened that if they return they will be hacked into pieces. The rioters are also proclaiming that only Hindu converts will be allowed to return. On the other hand, those in charge of the relief camps are pressurizing the riot victims to return to
their villages saying that the life has returned to normalcy and peace has returned.


1. This violence was a pre-planned anti-Christian communal assault, and in no way was it a 'clash' between adivasi (tribals) and dalits.

2. This violence which had full support from the Biju Janta Dal
Government was planned and executed by VHP and Bajrang Dal.

3. The Sangh's propaganda about 'indiscriminate religious conversion' is a far cry from facts, as the Christian population of Orissa is only 2.5 per cent of the total population. It is to be noted that Christian missionaries began working in Orissa 150 years back.

4. Dalits have far less proportion of land in comparison to the Kandha tribals. In Kandhamal 90 per cent land is government land, 5.5 percent belongs to tribals and rest 4.5 per cent belongs to Dalits, OBC and Oriya (businessmen). There is not much difference in the economic
conditions of the tribals and the dalits. The dalits are very slightly better off as they engage in small businesses.

Our Demands:

1. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal (BD) should be banned.

2. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the violence should
tender his resignation immediately

3. The accused for the riots be immediately arrested.

4. The Orissa Govt. must reconstruct all houses, churches, schools, hostels, hospitals and other social-religious structures demolished during the violence and for other damages adequate compensation be granted after a proper survey

5. The relief camps be run for another six months and proper civic arrangements for food, medicine and sanitation be made in these camps.

6. Arrangements be made for registering First Information Reports (FIRs) related to the communal violence at all police stations.

7. Peace process be initiated and guarantees be made for reopening and running of schools, hospitals and other institutes run by the Christian missionaries.

Orissa Pogrom

United Protests: South Orissa Bandh by CPI (ML) and Other Parties Liberation, November, 2008.

On 13th October CPI (ML) Liberation along with four other parties – CPI (ML) New Democracy (ND), Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) [CPI (ML)], Socialist Unity Center of India (SUCI) and Samajwadi Jan Parishad held a successful bandh in five districts of South Orissa - Kandhamal, Rayagada, Gajapati, Koraput and Ganjam – against the carnage in Kandhamal, the complicity of the Navin Patnaik Government and the criminal inaction of the Congress-led UPA
Government at the Centre. The bandh was total in the five districts and marked by the spontaneous participation of people. Around 10, 000 people actively participated in Liberation's initiatives to make the bandh a success in Rayagada; 1200 in Gajapati.

Holding that the ruling BJD as well as Congress which is in power at the Centre too have blood on their hands because of their hands-off approach towards the Sangh Parivar mobs, the CPI (ML) had declined to join a joint protest announced by Communist Party of India (CPI) and
the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] with Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the Congress party in the state.

In Bhubaneswar, trains were stopped and the National Highway blocked by 200 Liberation activists. Comrade Tirupati Gomango held a rally of around 8000 people at Gunupur. The bandh sent out a stern political message rejecting the communal violence against thousands of
Christians by the Sangh outfits and condemning the forces in power which are allowing the violence to take place unhindered.

CPI (ML) Liberation's Nation Wide Protests

On October 3, CPI (ML) held nation-wide protests demanding prosecution of Chief Ministers of Orissa and Karnataka for allowing saffron mobs to indulge in an anti-Christian pogrom; demanding a ban on the Sangh outfits guilty of communal violence and protesting against the UPA Government's refusal to take stern action against the communal
killers. A memorandum to the President of India was submitted from all over the country. The memorandum, raising all the above issues and demands, also noted that the Sangh's accusations of 'forced conversion' was actually serving to cover up their own acts of forcing
adivasis and Christians to convert to Hinduism. Conversion from Hinduism has largely been an act of rebellion by the oppressed castes against the caste-ridden Hindu fold, noted the memo, and "the current wave of violence is therefore also an attempt to terrorise the Dalits and other oppressed social groups for their rebellion – and is therefore acontinuation of social oppression in another form." The acts of humiliation of Christians that have come to light – raping,
parading naked, and forcing to eat excreta as 'purification' ritual – are all reminiscent of the atrocities against Dalits.

The party also noted the increasing incidents of communal violence in Dhule (Maharashtra) and Adilabad (Andhra Pradesh), in which the minority community bore the brunt of the attacks. Also, it condemned the Tarun Gogoi Government for allowing the Bodo-Muslim clashes to
take place, which had resulted in thousands of people being driven into refugee camps.

In Delhi, activists of CPI (ML) gathered at Parliament Street and burnt an effigy of Navin Patnaik and Yeddyurappa, and submitted a memorandum to the President.

In Karnataka, another major centre of the ongoing communal violence, protest demonstrations were held in various places in the state, and the memorandum to the President was sent through the tahsildars in the taluks. More than hundred people protested in front of taluk office at Harapanahalli. The demo evoked much expectation in the town as a
church near Harapanahalli was also attacked sometime back. Our comrades had helped in getting bail for the Christian priests, on whom false cases had been foisted in addition to the attack on their church. The demo at Gangavati was also impressive and demonstrators
shouted slogans against BJP that is coming out with its true colours after assuming power in the state. The demo at HD Kote near Mysore protestors included construction labourers and All India Central Coordination of Trade Unions (AICCTU) activists.

In Jharkhand, hundreds of people marched in the capital of Ranchi. The March against Communalism, in the Sainik Bazaar campus, was led by CPI (ML) General Secretary Comrade Dipankar. The March culminated in a mass meeting at Albert Ekka Chowk, addressed by many leaders. Protest processions, effigy burning, dharnas and mass meetings were also held
at various district headquarters (HQs) in Jharkhand; Bihar; Assam and Karbi Anglong; UP; W. Bengal, Tamilnadu, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, and Durg.

All India Progressive Womens Association (AIPWA) between 10-14 October, held protests and submitted a memorandum to the President of India demanding ban on the Sangh outfits Bajrang Dal and VHP responsible for assaults on Christians, and a Central Bureau of
Investigation (CBI) probe into the rape of a nun in Orissa.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Indian Social Action Forum Fact-Finding Team to Orissa

By Indian Social Action Forum

24 October: Bhubaneswar

The attacks carried out on Christians living in the villages of Kandhamal district, Orissa were planned and executed by the Hindu fundamentalist groups VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal.

With the BJD-BJP combine in power, the state machinery did nothing to stop the criminals from having their way and the violence spread to other parts of the district, which are largely inaccessible. The murder of Laxmananda Saraswati was used as a trigger to instigate large scale violence.

A visit by a team from Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF) in the affected areas on October 22-23, revealed the atrocities carried out on the people who have also been living in the same areas with their neighbours from other communities for the last few decades.

Though Maoists claimed responsibility for the killing of Laxmananda Saraswati, the state government so far has yet to make any breakthrough in the case. Nor has it been able to pinpoint who carried out the attacks.

From the night of August 23, mobs shouting slogans for Bajrang Dal and proclaiming a Hindu Rashtra went around the villages carrying arms before attacking houses belonging to Christians. In most of the cases, outsiders guided by a section of the villagers led the attacks. Though, the district administration claims to have arrested around 650 people involved in the riot, some of the master-minds are still at large.

The attackers didn't spare women and handicapped (one of whom was burnt to death in Gadaragam). Houses were ransacked and set on fire, belongings stolen. Remains of churches at Rupagam bore grim evidence of the hatred with which the attackers carried out their plans. A woman Salima Pradhan of Gadaragam couldn't flee from the village and is living in the ruins of the houses where her relatives once lived. The woman has received no assistance from the administration and is begging for food.

Another case in point is Beheragam where as many as 40 houses were burned. The residents managed to escape to the adjoining forest areas and survived. Hardly any of them have been able to return to their homes. Though, the administration has closed down one camp at Bariguda (where the refugees have returned home) in the rest of the camps like the ones in G. Udaygiri it will still take some time for the villagers to feel secure and return home. Those staying in the camps are afraid of another round of violence and don't want to return home.

Even the presence of CRPF has done little to boost their confidence. Some of the camp dwellers told the fact-finding team that only those who converted to Hinduism are being allowed in. They told the fact-finding team that their relatives were forced to tonsure their heads and go through a purification ritual before they were allowed to return. Posters claiming that the Hindu country is for Hindus still remain. In a burnt down house at Gadaragam, one such poster still remains.

There are some more villagers who have fled to Bhubanaeswar and living in camps. None of them are willing to go back to their homes right now.

The refugees point towards a school Gurukul Sanskrit Mahavidyalaya started by Laxmananda Saraswati at Chakapada from where the anti-Christian feelings are being encouraged. They believe the villages in Kandhamal won't be any safer till the school remain.

At the camps, the people are surviving on the bare minimum. For a family of 10 only two blankets have been provided. There are no less than 3000 people staying in filthy conditions. Among them are the elderly, sick and pregnant women. As many as 40 schools are closed down and the students about to appear for Board exams face an uncertain future.

The team urges the Government to immediately:
# Arrests all culprits and restore rule of law
# Provide adequate facilities in the relief camps
# Institute a Judicial inquiry by a sitting Judge into the event
# Provide adequate compensation to all victims
# Provide proper rehabilitation of all displaced.

Composition of the team:
1. Chittaranjan Singh, writer/Human rights activist, National Organising Secretary -PUCL, Uttar Pradesh
2. Dr. Ms. Shiamala Baby, gender activist - Director, Forward, Tamil Nadu
3. Dr. Ms. Saroop Dhruv, poetess/writer/activist, Ahmedabad
4. Dhirendra Panda, activist, Bhubaneswar.
Accompanied by media team of:
1. Arnab Ganguly, Special Correspondent, Times of India, Kolkata
2. Ms. Bala Chauhan, Chief of Bureau (investigation), Deccan Chronicle, Bangalore.
3. Prashant Nanda, Special Correspondent, IANS, Delhi
4. Bhupen Singh, writer & news producer, ZEE NEWS, Delhi

Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
A124/6 1st floor, Katwaria Sarai, New Delhi 110 016. INDIA
Tel: +91-11-26517814/ 65663958

Bajrang Dal, VHP responsible for Indore riots: NCM

Note: This is not connected with Christian persecution, but the persecution and anti-propaganda against another minority community in India. The perpetrators are the same: VHP and Bajrang Dal.

New Delhi, October 26: Holding the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad responsible for the July riots in Indore, the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has demanded action against both organisations in its report submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a few days back.

Copies of the report have also been submitted to Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Ministry for Minority Affairs A R Antulay, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and some other Union ministers.

"We have in our report said that proper action should be taken against Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad," NCM Chairman Md Shafi Qureshi said on Sunday.

On being asked whether the Commission has sought a ban on them, Qureshi quipped, "Action includes ban as well."

Earlier a three-member NCM team led by Qureshi visited the affected areas including Pandrinath, Chhatripura, Khajrana and Malharganj to take stock of communal violence that erupted in and around Indore during the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by VHP over the Amarnath land transfer issue.

Violence had mainly centered at Khajrana and Juhi Risala near Indore then. According to the report, a total of eight persons were killed in the violence. Seven among them were from the minority community.

Sources said the Commission has rubbished the contention of Madhya Pradesh PWD Minister Kailash Vijay Vargiya that SIMI was behind the riots and categorically said that it was aimed at diverting the attention of the country from real culprits of violence.

"Blaming SIMI for violence at Khajrana is a blatant lie," the Commission said in the report.

Taking strong exception to the use of licenced firearms by a section of people during the clashes, the Commission pulled up the state government for making "no efforts" to get such weapons deposited in police stations in time.

"Had the administration got the arms deposited in time, firings and resultant violence could have been averted," NCM Chairman Qureshi said.

The report further said the commission was told that licence holders were either "associated with or have close links with VHP, Bajrang Dal and BJP".

Noting that the "root cause of the violence lies in bandh call", the Commission criticised the state government for allowing a number of processions during the shutdown, which led to further deterioration of the already tense atmosphere.

The Commission also refuted the state police version that three youths died in exchange of fire between two groups at Khajrana.

"It was one-sided firing by a section of the people, who were enforcing the VHP 'bandh' or supporting it and there was no firing by people from the minority community, who were retaliating by pelting stones," the report said.

The commission has also taken serious note of the fact that the police resorted to firing at Juna Risala without any magisterial order that led the deaths of two youths from the minority community.


Orissa to rebuild damaged churches in Kandhamal

25 Oct 2008, 2303 hrs IST, IANS

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa government on Saturday changed its stance and said it will rebuild churches damaged in Kandhamal district during the communal violence that killed 37 people and rendered thousands homeless.
"The state government has asked the district administration to submit a report on the church damage within a fortnight," home secretary T.K. Mishra told reporters.
The state government earlier this week had rejected Bhubaneswar-Cuttack archbishop Raphael Cheenath's demand for a Rs.30 million assistance for the reconstruction of damaged and demolished churches saying that giving grants to religious places was against its secular ethos.
The change of stance came after the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the state to "take a generous view" of the matter.
The court had asked the government to identify the damaged churches, assess the extent of the damage and take steps towards rebuilding them.
Kandhamal district witnessed communal violence following the killing of a Hindu leader and four of his aides Aug 23 in his Ashram at Jaleshpata.
Officials on Saturday said normalcy was returning to the region as there was no major violence there since September 30.


Pregnant women helpless at Orissa relief camps

Kandhamal, Orissa (IANS): Pregnant women are the worst sufferers in the relief camps for victims of anti-Christian violence. Their houses burnt down, over two dozen women have given birth during their stay in the makeshift tents in the last two months and many more are expecting.

Besides sleeping on the ground, with just a plastic mat to lie upon even though it gets cold at night, and eating just dal and rice, they have to cope with inadequate medical attention at several relief camps — far from the comfort of their homes.

"What can we do? We have no homes in our village," said Sarita Nayak, 25, a pregnant woman in a relief camp in G. Udaygiri town, around 350 km from Bhubaneswar.

"Over 30 babies have been born in the last two months and scores of women are in an advanced stage of pregnancy. This is a bad time for all of us," Nayak told a visiting IANS correspondent.

The lack of nutritious food is not lost even on poor people like her.

Nayak, the wife of a daily wage labourer from Gadaguda village, said she had not eaten a single egg in the last two months — ever since the attacks on Christians began in Orissa, triggered by the killing of a Hindu leader.

"We are poor people. Had I been at my home, I would have taken a lot of spinach along with rice... and some milk also," she said.

In the ninth month of her pregnancy, she blamed the anti-Christian violence for her condition, but said: "At least we are alive here. They burnt down our house. We fled the village for fear of life," she said.

Lilabati Pradhan, a 75-year-old woman at the relief camp, agreed. "Something is better than nothing. But our pregnant women are suffering a lot," she said.

The district administration has deployed an Auxiliary Nurse-Midwive (ANM) and some accredited social health workers in every camp to take care of the women and children.

"At least seven women have delivered babies from our camp and 39 more are expecting. Some are in the advanced stage," said Sukesani Pradhan, the ANM in charge of a camp inside a high school campus in G. Udaygiri.

"We are checking their weight regularly and a doctor is visiting the campus as well. Once they report pain, we shift them to a nearby primary health centre," Pradhan added. She said all the new mothers are in hospital.

At least 3,200 people, of whom over 55 per cent are women and girls, are staying in the relief camp. There are seven such relief camps across Kandhamal in which over 11,000 displaced Christians are passing difficult days.

Aparajita Nayak, another pregnant woman in the same town, said: "I don't know why this is happening. I don't want to sleep on the ground, but I am happy here."

According to District Collector Krishan Kumar, "At least 23,000 people were living in these camps but over 12,000 have already left the camps for their villages."

Ever since the killing of Swami Laxmanananda, a Hindu religious leader, and four of his supporters by unidentified gunmen August 23, anti-Christian violence has been simmering in Kandhamal. While Maoist extremists have claimed responsibility for the murders, his supporters have been insisting that Christians are behind the murder. Orissa Police are investigating the case.

At least 38 people, including a CRPF personnel, have lost their lives in communal clashes and the fighting with security men following the violence.


Friday, October 24, 2008

‘Where is that sister…Come let us rape her, the crowd shouted’

New Delhi, Oct 24 (IANS)

"I hid myself under the staircase. The crowd was shouting ‘where is that sister. Come let us rape her, at least 100 people should rape.’”Her head down, her bespectacled face wrapped with a printed scarf, her voice steady except for once when she broke down and sobbed, a nun Friday recounted before a stunned nation the horror of her rape two months ago in Orissa’s Kandhamal district at the hands of a mob baying for vengeance for the killing of a Hindu leader.

Appearing live on TV news channels, the nun narrated her ordeal in the Indian capital, where she was brought by activists, and the way the state government and political parties had turned a blind eye to her suffering.

The press conference was held at the Indian Social Institute. Flanked by Christian leaders, the nun read out her handwritten statement that often made quite a few in the audience wince in horror.

The nun said a mob of 40-50 people dragged her out from the house of a “Hindu gentleman” where she was hiding, ripped off her clothes and raped her on a verandah strewn with glass.

“They pulled out my saree and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah,” the nun, who did not take any questions, recounted in a choked voice of the Aug 25 incident.

“When it was over, I managed to get up and put (on) my petticoat and sari,” she said with her head bowed, stirring the conscience of a secular country that has been shaken by recent assaults by Hindu fanatics on minorities in Orissa and Karnataka states.

The nun recounted her story here two days after the Supreme Court ruled out an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged rape and asked her to cooperate with the state police in the investigation. She had not made a public appearance after the incident was reported.

It was a painful journey the Indian nun had to endure all the way from Bhubaneswar to New Delhi to draw attention to her plight because, as she herself has said in the past, she had lost faith in the Orissa Police to bring to book the perpetrators, reported to belong to the Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal.

The alleged rape took place two days after the killing of a prominent Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader and four of his associates in his ashram in Kandhamal. The killing triggered widespread anti-Christian attacks in the district.

Not surprisingly, at the end of the 15-minute hair-raising narrative, the nun was in no frame of mind to take questions and was quickly ushered out of the room by another nun and an advocate.

After the rape, the nun and Father Thomas Chellantharayil were made to walk on the road to Nuagaon market, which was half a kilometre away.

“They made to fold our hands and walk. I was with petticoat and sari as they had already torn away my blouse and undergarments. They tried to strip (me) even there but I resisted and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back several times,” the nun said.

Personnel of the Orissa Special Armed Police (OSAP) were present at the spot but didn’t even attempt to intervene, the nun alleged.

“When we reached the marketplace about a dozen of OSAP policemen were there. I went to them asking to protect me and I sat in between two policemen. But they did not move. One from the crowd again pulled out from there and they wanted to lock us in the temple mandap,” she recounted.

Eventually, the nun and the priest managed to find their way to a police station, where the officials initially refused to register a complaint. They relented only after she underwent a medical examination and then too, what was recorded was an extremely watered down version of the incident, the nun said.

Replying to queries, the Archbishop of Delhi, Father Dominic Emmanuel, said the nun had come to Delhi in the hope that the Supreme Court would reverse its decision against ordering a enquiry into the incident that has sent shock waves throughout the country with the Pope expressing sadness over reports of anti-Christian assaults in India and European leaders seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention in the matter.

At least 36 people have died, thousands have been rendered homeless and dozens of Christians shrines vandalised in violence that erupted in the coastal Indian state after the killing of the Hindu religious leader.

The Supreme Court had Wednesday said “it does not feel the need to have a CBI inquiry, at the moment”.

Dominic said that since the decision was “for the moment”, the nun’s open admission and “narration of injustice under the state system would make the requirement felt”.


Statement of the Nun who was raped in Orissa

Statement of Orissa rape victim Sr. Meena

Sister Meena
On 24th August, around 4.30 pm, hearing the shouting of a large crowd, at the gate of Divya Jyoti Pastoral Centre, I ran out through the back door and escaped to the forest along with others. We saw our house going up in flames. Around 8.30 p.m. we came out of the forest and went to the house of a Hindu gentle man who gave us shelter.

On 25th August, around 1.30 p.m., the mob entered the room where I was staying in Prahald's house, one of them slapped me on my face, caught my hair and pulled me out of the house. Two of them were holding my neck to cut off my head. Others told them to take me out to the road, I saw Fr. Thomas Chellan also being taken out and being beaten. The mob consisting of 40-50 men was armed with lathis, axes, spades, crowbars, iron rods, sickles etc. They took both of us to the main road. Then they led us to the burnt down Jan Vikas building saying that they were going to throw us into the smoldering fire.

When we reached the Jan Vikas building, they threw us to the verandah on the way to the dinning room, which was full of ashes and broken glass pieces. One of them tore my blouse and others my undergarments. Father Thomas Chellan protested but they beat him and pulled him out from there. They pulled out my saree and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah mentioned above. When it was over, I managed to get up and put my petticoat and saree. The another young man whom I can identify caught me and took me to a room near the staircase. He opened his pants and was attempting to rape me when the crowd reached there. One man in the crowd told him not to do any further harm and so he left me. I will be able to identify the person who raped me and other three persons who stepped on my hands and tore my saree etc.

I hid myself under the staircase. The crowd was shouting' where is that sister, come let us rape her, at least 100 people rape. They found me under the staircase and took me out to the road. There I saw Fr. Chellan was kneeling down and the crowd was beating him with hands and sticks. They were searching for a rope to tie both of us together to burn us in fire. Someone suggested to make us parade naked. They made us to walk on the road till Nwagaon market which was half a kilometer from there. They made us to fold our hands and walk. I was with petticoat and saree as they had already torn away my blouse and undergarments. They tried to strip even there but I resisted and they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back several times.

When we reached the market place a dozen of OSAP policemen were there. I went to them asking to protect me and I sat in between two policemen but they did not move. One from the crowd again pulled me out from there and they wanted to lock us in their temple mandap. The crowd led me and Fr. Thomas Chellan to the Nuagaon block building saying that they will hand us over to B.D.O. From there along with the block officer the mob took us to the police outpost, Nuagaon, other police men remained far.

The mob said that they will comeback after eating and one of them who attacked me remained back in the police outpost. Policemen then came to police outpost. They were talking very friendly with the man who had attacked me and stayed back . In police outpost we remained until the inspector incharge of Balliguda with his police team came and took us to Balliguda. They were afraid to take us straight to the police station and they kept us sometime in jeep in the garage, from there they brought us to the station. The inspector inchareg and other two government officers took me privately and asked whatever happened to me. I narrated every thing in detail to the police, how I was attacked, raped, taken away from policemen, paraded half naked and how the police men did not help me when I asked for help while weeping bitterly. I saw the inspector writing down. The inspector asked me "are you interested in filing FIR?" Do you now what will be the consequence? At about 10.00 p.m., I was taken for medical check up accompanied by a lady police officer to Balliguda Hospital. They were afraid to keep us in police station, saying that the mob may attack police station. So the police took us to the IB (inspection bungalow) where CRP men were camping.

On 26/08/08 around 9.00 a.m. we were taken to Baliguda Police Station. When I was writing the FIR, the Inspector In-Charge (IIC) asked me to hurry up and not to write in detail. When I started writing about the police, the I .I. C told me this is not the way to write FIR, make it short. Sot I re-wrote it for the third time in one and half page. I filed the FIR, but I was not given a copy of it.

At around 4.00 pm the inspector in charge of Balliguda police station along with some other government officers put us in the OSRTC bus to Bhubaneshwar along with other stranded passengers. Police were there till Rangamati where all passengers had their supper. After that I did not see the police. We got down near Nayagarh and traveled in private vehicle and reached Bhubaneshwar around 2.00 am on 27th August.

State police failed to stop the crimes, failed to protect me from the attackers, they were friendly with the attackers, and they tried their best that I did not register an FIR, not make complaints against police, police did not take down my statement as I narrated in detail and they abandoned me half of the way. I was raped and now I don't want to be victimized by the Orissa Police. I want C.B.I enquiry. God bless India, God bless you all.

Sr. Meena

Raped Nun tells her story

Raped Orissa nun narrates her tale

Friday, 24 October , 2008, 17:47

New Delhi: With a scarf covering her head and face, a sobbing nun who was allegedly raped by a mob in Orissa's Kandhamal district, appeared before the media on Friday to relate her sordid tale and lamented the state police's failure to help her.

Visibly shaken and seemingly not in a state to take any queries, she read out her own handwritten statement giving vivid details of the incident. She left soon after that.

The Archbishop of Cuttack, Raphael Cheenath, who had recently moved the Supreme Court seeking a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying that the nun had lost faith in the state police, also accompanied her in the conference. He also did not entertain any questions.

In her written complaint in the district on August 26, two days after the incident, the nun alleged that a mob of about 40 to 50 armed men attacked a house at K Nuagaon village where she along with a priest, Father Thomas Chellantharayil, had taken shelter after their centre was attacked.

The mob dragged her and the priest and took them to the deserted office of an NGO where she was allegedly stripped and raped. The priest was doused with petrol and beaten up.

They also paraded her naked on the streets, she alleged, saying that the incident occurred in the presence of a dozen policemen.


Indian nun recounts rape ordeal

Fri, Oct 24, 2008

NEW DELHI - A nun who was allegedly raped during recent anti-Christian violence in eastern India demanded a federal probe Friday, and accused local police of shielding her attackers.

The nun was reportedly assaulted by a rioting mob on August 25, days after the murder of a Hindu priest sparked attacks by Hindu extremists on the Christian community in coastal Orissa state.

More than half-a-dozen people have been arrested over the incident.

But Mina Barwa told reporters in New Delhi that she had little faith in local police.

Barwa, 29, said she was dragged to a burned-out Christian home where two men held her down and a third raped her. She was then beaten with sticks and paraded semi-naked in the streets as mobs threatened to gang rape her.

"They pulled out my sari and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me," said Barwa, who covered her face with a scarf while speaking.

She was then paraded in the streets, along with a priest.

"They had already torn away my blouse and undergarments," she said. "And they went on beating me with hands on my cheeks and head and with sticks on my back."

At least 35 people died in weeks of anti-Christian attacks in Orissa and nearly 50,000 fled their homes. Many of them remain in state-run shelters.

Pope Benedict XVI strongly condemned the violence.

This week, India's Supreme Court rejected a plea by a Catholic bishop for a federal investigation into the alleged rape, saying the matter should be probed by the Orissa police.

Religious clashes erupt periodically in India where only 2.3 percent of the more than 1.1 billion population are practising Christians.

Hardline Hindu groups accuse missionaries of bribing poor tribes people and low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity by offering free education and health care.



Orissa police friendly with attackers, says 'raped' nun

New Delhi, October 24: : Two months after a nun was allegedly raped during the communal violence in Orissa, the victim on Friday came out in public for the first time recounting her traumatic experience and demanded a CBI probe into the incident, charging police of being "friendly" with attackers.

With her face masked, the bespectacled nun in her early thirties accused the Orissa police of failing to protect her from attackers and not being responsive.

Reading out from a four-page hand-written statement at a packed press conference, Sister Meena said she was dragged by a mob of 40-50 people, her clothes ripped apart and was raped on a verandah strewn with glass pieces as two of the attackers stood on her hands.

"They pulled out my saree and one of them stepped on my right hand and another on my left hand and then a third person raped me on the verandah," the nun, who did not take any questions, recounted in a choked voice.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

SC declines plea for CBI inquiry into alleged rape of nun

New Delhi, Oct 22 (PTI) The Supreme Court today declined to hand over to CBI the investigation into the alleged rape of a nun during the on-going communal violence in Orissa.
"At this stage we do not think that handing over the investigation into the case from the state police to the CBI is in the interest of the victim as well as in the interest of justice. We think that the victim will cooperate with the state police," a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said.
The Bench noted that the victim has left the area and was refusing to participate in the Test Identification Parade (TIP), though nine persons have been arrested in connection with the alleged rape.
On the issue of compensation for damage caused to churches during the communal riots, the Bench asked the Orissa Government to assess the damage and assist in re-building them.
The apex Court said that proceedings in cases arising out of the violence will have to be conducted by setting up fast track courts.
Further, the Bench said that the central para-military forces provided to the state government for maintaining law and order in riot-hit area will remain there till December-end in view of the upcoming festival of Christmas.
The Archbishop of Cuttack had in a petition sought Rs three crore compensation for demolition of Churches in the anti-Christian riots, while seeking a CBI inquiry into attacks on Christians.
He alleged that Orissa government was not taking steps to arrest the culprits who allegedly raped and paraded the nun naked on August 25.


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Center to file affidavit in Nun Rape case

Submitted by Jyoti Prakash

The Union Govt. will file an additional affidavit in connection with the Kandhamal violence. The Supreme Court has permitted center's plea in this regard. Meanwhile the court will hear today the petition demanding CBI probe into the rape and humiliation of a Christian Nun.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices P Sathasivam and P M Panchal adjourned the hearing for a day on 21st of October. The archbishop of Cuttack Raphel Cheenath has filed the petition seeking CBI enquiry and compensation of three crores for the damaged churches of Orissa. He filed the petition on 12th of this month.

The Navin Patnaik government has refused to provide Rs 3 crore for the reconstruction and restoration of Churches.  The state Govt. in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court said that it is against the secular policy of the state government to provide funds for religious places.

At the same time Orissa government has said 'NO' to the demand of CBI probe. The Govt. said, the Crime Branch of the state police was investigating the matter smoothly and a few arrests have also been made in the case.

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Rajya Sabha (Upper House of the Indian Parliament) adjourns after uproar over attack on Christians in Orissa

New Delhi, Oct 22 (PTI) Opposition BJP and ruling Congress members today clashed in the Rajya Sabha over the issue of attack on Christians in Orissa, leading to abrupt adjournment of the House.
Trouble broke out when Congress member Shantaram Laxman Naik rose to read his Zero Hour notice on the issue, provoking BJP members who strongly protested against raising state matters. Orissa is ruled by BJD-BJP coalition.
Rudra Narayan Pany (BJP) led the opposition attack which was immediately countered by Congress members, plunging the House into turmoil.
Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan pleaded with the agitated opposition members to restore peace as the notice had been admitted by the Chairman and he could not do anything about it.
As Pany rushed towards the podium, Khan admonished him. "I condemn this. I am warning you," he said as the BJP member had a heated argument with the Chair.
Senior BJP member S S Ahluwalia then asked Pany to take his seat and he himself entered into a verbal duel with Khan. BJD member B J Panda was also seen standing in protest.
Amidst noisy scenes, Khan asked Naik to read the notice, further infuriating the opposition members who rushed to the well.
Some members from the Congress too rushed towards the well to counter the BJP attack.
At one point of time, an agitated Pany was seen rushing towards the Congress bench and was persuaded by his senior party colleagues to go back to his place.
As the din continued, Khan adjourned the House 15 minutes before the scheduled lunch recess.


Orissa against CBI probe into nun’s rape

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: The Orissa government has strongly opposed in the Supreme Court an application by Archbishop of Cuttack Raphael Cheenath seeking a CBI probe into the rape of a nun by a mob at K. Nuagaon village in Kandhamal district on August 25.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan posted the matter for Tuesday. The Archbishop had filed the application in the pending writ petition for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the violent incidents in Kandhamal district. The State filed a reply stating that a judicial probe had already been ordered.

In the fresh reply, Orissa said a criminal case was registered on August 26 on a complaint of the nun against 40 to 50 unknown accused persons. The victim had not named anybody though she said she could identify the accused if they were produced before her. “Therefore the averments of the petitioner that the police knew about the identity of the attackers on August 25 are not correct and are denied,” Orissa said.

The reply said that immediately after lodging a first information report, the victim voluntarily went away from the area and was not available for investigation. The State government constituted a high-level team, mainly of women police officers, to trace the victim. Though the unavailability of the victim and other crucial witness, Father Chellan, seriously hampered the progress of investigation, the police tried their best to collect other evidence against the accused persons.

It said the investigation was being monitored at the highest level and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had condemned the heinous crime.

On the Archbishop’s plea to direct the State to award Rs. 3 crore as compensation for the demolition of churches and destruction of property, the government said “no compensation is paid for the damaged religious institutions, irrespective of their religious affiliations, as per the secular policy of the State government. However, the State has declared that Rs. 2 lakh will be paid as ex gratia for damage to schools, hospitals, etc.”

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Orissa tops in communal violence

Tuesday, 21 October , 2008, 18:11

New Delhi: Orissa has recorded the highest number of communal violence incidents this year, resulting in the death 41 people, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

"A total of 695 cases of communal violence were reported from different states during the period in which 116 people were killed and left 1680 injured," Minister of State for Home Affairs Shakeel Ahmad said in reply to a question.

"Orissa recorded maximum of 159 cases till September 2008 which left 41 people dead and 76 injured. The ministry does not maintains record of the property destroyed during the violence," he said.

In terms of toll, Orissa was followed by Madhya Pradesh where 19 people were killed, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh where 11 people lost their lives and Karnataka where three persons were killed.

Ahmed was replying to a question by Parliament Members Naveen Jindal and P Karunakaran. He said the data included recent incidents of violence targeted against the members of Christian community in Orissa in the wake of murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others on August 23 this year.

The Minister said seven advisories and communications were sent to Orissa Government between September 25 to October 18, 2008 at various levels. "Four advisories were sent to Karnataka between September 15 to October 15, 2008," he said.

"Orissa was asked to take stringent action against persons indulging in communal violence, including identification and apprehension of elements inciting communal violence and hatred," the Minister said.

Similarly, Karnataka was also asked to take immediate steps to stop violence targeted at minority communities and their places of worship, Ahmad said.

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1. With respect to the communal violence that began in Kandhamal district of the state of Orissa in December, 2007 the state government has appointed the Justice Basudev Panigrahi Commission of Inquiry. Similarly, with respect to the communal violence that flared up in August 2008 in different parts of Orissa, which continues unabated, the state government has appointed the Justice S.C. Mohapatra Commission of Inquiry.
2. I am profoundly distressed by the fact that the Chief Minister did not consult the victim community before deciding on the persons to head these Commissions. The very least that is expected from the state government is that it takes the victim community into confidence so that the Commissions of Inquiries are headed by persons who are in the perception of the victim community, both independent and strong willed enough to hold the officers of the state responsible. The present appointments have been made in haste disregarding the point of view of the victim communities.
3. Our experiences before the Justice Basudev Panigrahi Commission have been demoralizing to say the least. Advocates for the victims communities appeared before Justice Panigrahi and filed statements on behalf of approximately 27 victims and others. They begin full-hearted participation in the inquiry despite their reservations as to the independence of the Commission. Their confidence was shaken when the second round of attacks began and they informed Justice Panigrahi that not only the Christian community but also some of the advocates representing the victims had come under the threat of assault and they therefore requested Justice Panigrahi to adjourn the hearing for two months. Justice Panigrahi refused. It became impossible for the victim community and their advocates to participate freely in the Commission. Victims were without food, houses were being burnt, people were being killed; all this was pointed out to Justice Panigrahi and a most reasonable request was made to keep the Commission in abeyance until matters settled down.
4. Not only was the request refused but the Commission is proceeding in undue haste. Some members of the victims community undoubtedly manage to attend but the leading learn of lawyers and the main victims cannont attend. It I also very difficult to travel within Kandhamal to meet the victims and prepare them for the proceedings. They have been traumatized and are scared and need to be given confidence to speak out. This is especially so because the assailants are still roaming free in the villages and may, in all likelihood, attack the witnesses for deposing before the Commission. It was expected of the Commission that it would have some sensitivity in respect of witness protection to maintain the sanctity of the Commission proceedings, but that is not so. A formal order has been made but no protection on the ground is available.
5. This leads me to the conclusion that the Justice Panigrahi Commission is more interested in covering up for the misdeeds of the state government and its police force whose actions have been truly shameful, rather than to identity the organisations and prominent individuals behind the fascistic attacks. The Commission wishes to produce its reports in undue haste with a view to giving the Chief Minister and his officers a clean chit. In the circumstances I have no hesitation in stating that I have no faith whatsoever in the Justice Panigrahi Commission.
6. This view also holds good for the Justice S.C. Mohapatra Commission. I have nothing against Justice Panigrahi or Justice Mohapatra personally. But I do protest the appointment being made unilaterally without consultation with the victim community. He too has issued notice to the victim community in the middle of all this violence to file affidavits by the 15th of November, 2008. Such a formal approach displays insensitivity to the suffering of the victims. Victims who do not know where their next meal is coming from or those who are hiding in the forests are hardly likely to be able to identify an advocate and meet the prescribed deadline. What these Commissions need is a person of dynamism like Justice Krishna Iyer with a compassionate heart and a deep social understanding of the nature of communal riots. Perhaps the sate government out to have approached Mr. Justice B N Srikrishna who headed the Commission of Inquiry in respect of the Bombay massacres. Such judges would indeed have inspired confidence. Sadly this is not the case. I do not have the confidence that the Justice Mohapatra Commission will indeed do justice to the victims in Orissa.
7. I am constrained the release this statement because there, particularly of late, a distressing tendency to avoid naming and catching the culprits immediately and to waste time by appointing Commissions with pliant persons heading them in order to protract the conflict and to get political benefits by stigmatizing minority communities. This strategy will not work. The people of Orissa as indeed the people of the world know who the assailants are. This is no secret. What it needs is not an inquiry for the truth is well known. It needs the political will to do what is right in accordance with the Constitution of India and the laws of this land.
8. In this, I do believe that I have the support of all religious communities in India. I do believe I have the support of those professing the Hindu religion in India as well. Hinduism is a religion of peace, non-violence and tolerance. I am a profound admirer of philosophical and religious tenets of Hinduism. I can therefore say with absolutely certainty that those who attacked Christians in the name of religion are profoundly anti-hindu and anti-national. They seek to divide and thus weaken our wonderful nation of kind hearted and generous people.
9. This is why I am so utterly distressed that our national leadership does not appear to be capable of acting bravely and decisively with compassion and clarity to challenge these fascist forces that have divided the nation and committed so many horrendous crimes again and again. What is at stake in the communal attacks in Orissa is not just the future of the Christian community and its security and safety, but the future of our democratic nation itself.
10. May God help us all.

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath S.V.D
Archbishop of Cuttack - Bhubaneswar

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I, The Convert

My conversion was not a change of religion; it was a change of heart

Anand Mahadevan

I was born a Brahmin and am the grandson of a priest whom I dearly loved. I am educated and my current professional standing indicates that I am reasonably intelligent. I am also affluent and my income would put me distinctly in the upper middle class bracket. I guess that would make me high-caste, rich and smart. In other words, I am not a tribal, or poor or dim-witted. And yet, I chose to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
The world would call me a convert to Christianity. I have no problems with that, though I see my faith more as a relationship with God through Jesus Christ than as a religion. And for the record, I can truthfully claim that no one financially induced or threatened or deceived me into converting to Christianity.
I am fiercely proud of my national identity as an Indian and I am completely at peace with my cultural identity as a Hindu. I retain the name my parents gave me. My wife, who also shares my faith, continues to go by her Hindu name. We have two children and we have given both distinctly Hindu names. In fact, many of my colleagues and acquaintances who may happen to read this column are likely to be surprised. They have no inkling about my faith, for I generally don't go about announcing it. But if someone does ask me the reason behind the joy and hope that is everpresent in my life, I am always delighted to share it with them.
I write this piece to make one point—that my conversion was not a change of religion but a change of heart. To explain this, I need to go back to my childhood in Chennai, similar to that of so many other Tamil Brahmin boys like me. My grandfather, every bit the virtuous priest, had enormous influence over me. I absolutely adored him and as a toddler, always clung to him. He too loved me to a fault. There was no wish of mine that he would not rush to fulfil. But even in my early, formative years I was unable to relate to the religion he fervently practiced. Later, in my school days, I once spent my summer holidays with him in Trichy. Memories of dawn walks with him, for the ritualistic dip in the Cauvery river, cow in tow, are still fresh in my memory. I learnt many shlokas, some of which I still remember. But I never understood any of it and none of it helped me connect with God.
When I was 19, a Christian friend with whom I used to play cricket invited me to his house for prayer. If he had invited me to a pub, or party, I would have gone too. At his home, he and his sister prayed for me. It was a simple yet delightful conversation with God that lasted all of five minutes. I don't remember it verbatim, but they articulated a prayer of blessing on my life, future, career and family. It was a simple affair—no miracles, no angels visiting. All they did was utter a deep human cry out to the creator God and His only son Jesus Christ. When they said Amen, I felt in my heart a desire to follow Jesus.
It was a faith encounter with God that I shall not even attempt to understand, rationalise or explain. I simply accept it. It is my faith. It is what I choose to believe. That evening I did not change my religion, for in reality I had none. Hinduism was my identity, not my religion. It still is.
The Christianity I acquired that evening is not a religion. On the contrary, it is an intensely intimate relationship with Jesus. Over the past fifteen years, I have come to know this Jesus even closer. I know Him as the pure and sinless Son of a Holy God. And I know Him as a dear friend to whom I pray and talk to every day—about my career, my dreams, successes, failures, finances and even my sexuality.
If I read a good book, watch a good movie (Rock On is terrific, mate), or eat a good meal at a new restaurant, I would naturally tell my friends about it.In Jesus, I have discovered a truly amazing friend, guide, leader, saviour and God. How can I not tell all my friends about Him? And if anyone does listen and he too comes to believe in Jesus, I am delighted. The world would call it a conversion; I call it a change of heart, like mine.
But I would never force anyone to listen to me, leave alone financially induce, coerce or con him into believing. That to me is pointless and against the very grain of my faith. But I do have a constitutional right to practice my faith and to preach it without deception, force or bribery. It pains to see such basic rights of mankind being cruelly violated every day in this great Hindu nation.
God bless India.

(Anand Mahadevan is the editor of Outlook Business.)

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Press Release All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations

All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations

B-113, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi-17 Tel: 011-26960022, Telefax: 011-26534559, Email:,

For Immediate Release

World Religious Freedom Day Marked at India's National Capital

Dharmrakshak Shri Dharma Sena Leaders Arrested For Religious Defamation

SC/ST Confederation Demands Ban on Bajrang Dal, VHP and RSS

New Delhi, October 14, 2008

All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations marked World Religious Freedom Day in India's national capital today with a large protest against communal violence and demanded ban on Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Rashtrya Swyamseva Sangh (RSS). A Dharmrakshak Shri Dharma Sena leader arrested for defamation charge at the demonstration grounds, Jantar Matar.

Hundreds of Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe government employees celebrated World Religious Freedom Day. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the architecture of the Indian constitution left Hinduism and converted to Buddhism fifty-two years ago on Oct. 14, 1956 in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Thousands of Dalits joined him in an effort to become free from caste oppression.

Mr. Vijay Singh, a member of Dharmrakshak Shri Dharm Sena was arrested today at the Parliament street police station on charges of defaming literature and a poster displayed near the rally.

Members of SC/ST Confederation urged Mr. Balwinder Singh, Assistant Sub-Inspector, who was on duty and in charge of the rallies in Jantar Mantar, to arrest Mr. Vijay under section 295A of the Indian Penal Code for defaming another religion and creating enmity among religious communities. Later Mr. Vijay was taken to Parliament street police station.

The slogans displayed in the poster were from a booklet called, "Yesu main Sietan hai" – meaning "In Jesus there is Satan" by Mukesh Jain, President of Dharmrakshak Shri Dharm Sena. Another poster displayed read, "Jesus is a Murderer," "Jesus is terrorist," and "Jesus came to destroy human beings."

Dr. Udit Raj, Chairman of the All India Confederation of SC/ST Organisations said, "Police officials on duty should have quickly arrested Mr. Vijay Singh at very sight of the inflammatory slogans and display of picture. If this display of inflammatory and defamatory literature was done about Hinduism by Christians or other religions, many people would have been beaten."

Yesterday, NIC met in Balyogi Auditorium, Parliament House, New Delhi and this was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. Dr. Udit Raj was the first speaker and at the outset he said that casteism is sometimes more dangerous than communalism. Since caste and identity divisions and rhetoric's was suggested by Dr. Udit Raj at the time of finalization of agenda, therefore, he was most appropriate member to speak on the danger of caste politics. Caste politics outweighs development, education, health and also encourages the leaders of the caste to do anything in order to capture the power. Caste politics has indirect bearings on society and its ill affects like poverty, health, corruption, illiteracy, have far reaching impact. Communalism affects individual and their properties.

Dr. John Dayal, Secretary General of the All India Christian Council, along with Christian members of Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) joined the rally. He said, "The victims of anti-Christian violence in Orissa, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of the country are mostly from a Dalit background. They need the freedom of religion which was courageously demonstrated by Ambedkar."

As the protestors marched in large group along Parliament street, they shouted, "Ban Bajrang Dal," "Ban VHP," and "Ban RSS."

Release by

(Sanjay Kumar)

Media Incharge