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.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
November 29, 2008:
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 ConcessaoCBCI, 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
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.