Bhopal, Apr 18:
The incidents of coercing the Christian community on pretext of conversion and other serious allegations are increasing in Madhya Pradesh. They include arresting the priest in Bhopal and keeping him detained by levelling false charges under SC/ST Act against him, stopping the prayer meeting at Barwani despite prior approval of the administration, barging in of Hindu hardcore activists in the prayer mass alleging conversion in Jabalpur along with other incidents. The fundametalist organisations hold demonstration in front of churches without prior permission from the administration.
Many schemes like scholarship scheme, self-employment scheme and other schemes have been implemented by the central and state government for uplifting of economically backward people of minority groups. But despite requesting the government for several times, benefits of these schemes are not being given to Christians.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Bhopal, Apr 18:
A group of masked men attacked a Christian prayer meet in remote Sarni area of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh, police said Sunday. Locals claimed that a man died in the resulting melee after he jumped into a well in panic.
According to eyewitnesses, the man died due to the ruckus Saturday night created by the miscreants, allegedly belonging to "rightist organisations".
"The incident took place around 8.30 p.m. at Saliya village where around eight to nine masked men forced their way into the Christian prayer meeting, attacked the organisers, damaged their vehicles and fled," Sub-Divisional officer (Police) Abhishek Rajan said.
"Later, the police found a body floating in a well, located 400 meters from the prayer venue. According to the locals, the man was attending the meeting and jumped into the well in panic when the miscreants attacked," he said.
"The police are yet to ascertain whether his death was related to the attack as his body was found floating within two hours of the commotion while medical experts say that it takes at least 12 hours for a body of a drowned person to surface," Rajan said.
Several attacks on Christian meets have been witnessed in the past in tribal-dominated Balaghat district also with the latest one on April 15 when some miscreants, allegedly belonging to rightwing Hindu groups, stormed a function organised by a Protestant group and attended by over 5,000 people.
Father Lijo Antony, assistant parish priest of the lone Catholic church in the area, said: "Hindu groups tried to forcibly enter the venue alleging the programme was aimed at converting gullible tribal people."
The police imposed prohibitory orders in the area after the incident. The administration also gave protection to 23 Protestant pastors working in the area, the priest said.
Dear praying Saints
My cousin Mr. Sonu Gilbert’s son ‘Amit Gilbert’ was ministering in Salaiya near Betul, central India, on April 17th, and was attacked by Bajrang Dal . They apparently sized Amit, killed him and threw in a well. Please pray for his mother Mrs. Rani and father Mr. Sonu Gilbert.
Please pray for the following:
o The Holy Spirit will bring His comfort to the entire family and relatives
o That those persecuted Amit, will come to the repentance and find their salvation in Jesus
o This story of Martyrdom will not be used by Satan to bring fear and discouragement in the body, rather will raise the level of faith, commitment, shrewdness, and vision of those laboring in the Northern India
“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (Rev 6:9, 10)
I also request you to forward this mail to all that can help in prayer mobilization.
Attack on Christian meet, youth falls into well, dies
A Christian youth died as he fell into an open well while fleeing in panic from a group of suspected right-wing activists who attacked a prayer meeting in Salaiyya village of Betul district late on Saturday night.
Three persons, including a woman, were injured in the attack that occurred when about 400 Christians were holding a prayer meet in the village, about 12 km from the Sarni Police Station. The attackers, wearing masks, were carrying sticks and tubelights and smashed vehicles parked at the venue.
Amit Gilbert, aged around 24, had come from Raipur to attend the meeting. He fell into the well about 300 metres from the venue and suffered injuries on his head and legs. The body was fished out in the wee hours of Sunday.
The community took out a silent march in Sarni on Sunday to protest against the incident. The police have registered a case against unknown persons, Betul SP R L Prajapati told The Indian Express.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
BHUBANESWAR: A fast track court in Orissa on Saturday acquitted 17 people in a case of rioting in Kandhamal in 2008.
All the 17 were accused of torching houses in Shashipadar village Aug 26, 2008.
"All the seventeen accused have been acquitted as the charges leveled against them could not be proved for want of evidence," public prosecutor PK Patra said.
Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23, 2008.
More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.
Friday, April 16, 2010
15 April 2010
Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh: A Christian meeting was attacked by the Bajrang Dal and workers of BJP yesterday and today resulting in a tense situation in the entire area.
A 3 day gospel meeting had been organized by the Christian Churches of Balaghat and today was the last day of the meeting. Pastor Ram Babu was bringing the word of God for the past two evenings and the day time was devoted to Bible studies. The meetings were taking place in the Balaghat stadium with due permission and protection of the police and the local administration.
Today evening around 5 pm, Christians who were taking part in the meeting were beaten up during even as they were on the way to attend Bible Studies. At least three were beaten badly after being taken forcibly to the BJP office in Balaghat. Many were hurt during the stone pelting by Bajrang Dal workers.
In the evening the fundamentalists attacked the meeting in the presence of the police and were met with retaliation. However they were successful in damaging at least 4 vehicles. They also attacked the police in anger following which the police was forced to lathi charge the miscreants.
Yesterday the Bajrang Dal threw two petrol bombs at the meeting and one had exploded inside the meeting venue. No one was hurt.
At least 40 Bajrang Dal and Dharma Sena members attacked a team of young people in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. The youth who are part of the brethren Church were distributing tracts in Sector 2 as reported by local sources and were also joined by their pastor Shalu Ninan.
Even Pastor Ninan was beaten up badly and when they went to lodge an FIR at the police station they found that an FIR was already lodged against them and hence they were arrested on charges of forced conversions. They are still in the lock up and attempts to bail them out are on.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
A two-member team of the German Federal Parliament today expressed its deep concern over the condition of people hit by December 2007 and August 2008 riots in Kandhamal district.
Mr Ute Granold and Mr Pascal Kober of the Human Rights Committee of the Federal Parliament, who visited the riot-affected areas of the district from April 9 to 13, said they were shocked at the level of violence.
Even two years after the incident, many of the affected people were leading a miserable life and still do not have proper homes and livelihood opportunities. Most of them were yet to be compensated adequately, they said.
Many complaints were yet to be registered by police and only a few had been convicted, the delegation said, adding that the children were deprived of going to school.
The members of the German Federal Parliament, who also visited Gujarat, said they would follow up the developments in Germany.
They would also submit their findings to the German Federal Government and the Parliament.
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
New Delhi, April 7, 2010
Karnataka Police arrested 14 pastors with false accusation on Monday at Viraj Pet of Coorg District. All India Christian Council extends help for their release.
According to a source reaching to All India Christian Council (aicc) says that 14 Pastors gathered for prayer meeting and fellowship in one of their house on Friday morning were arrested by police and detained until filing of this report.
Anand Kumar, Regional Secretary of aicc Karnataka Chapter reports, “A group of people allegedly belonging to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Hindutva militant group, secretly recorded the prayers in their mobile and presented to Ponan Pet police station. A police team came and arrested the pastors while they were having lunch with false allegation of involving in forceful and fraud conversion.”
Karnataka chapter of Christian Council is sending a fact finding team and looking into the possibility of early release of the pastors.
The Christian minority in the state of Karnataka have been going through very difficult time with false accusations leveled against the innocent pastors after Hindutva Government took over in early 2008. The law of the land has been misused by the Hindutva fanatics to harass Christian minorities. Gathering for prayer among the Christian communities is even accused as fraud and fraudulence conversion.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
BHUBANESWAR: The 2008 communal violence in Orissa's Kandhamal district may have attracted heated debate, but the anxiety seems to have whittled away with political parties, religious groups and the media cold-shouldering the inquiry commission set up by the government.
The one-man Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra inquiry panel has made virtually no headway in investigating the violence that followed the murder of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader on Aug 23, 2008. Thirty-eight people were killed and thousands of Christians displaced from their homes, leading to widespread concern with many blaming the government and investigating agencies for not doing enough in the matter.
But the concern did not translate into responses from the stakeholders.
"I have issued letters to all major political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the ruling Biju Janata Dal, but most of them have not filed their statements before the commission yet," Justice Mohapatra said in an interview.
"Political parties certainly have a role in the inquiry process as there was a doubt raised about the working of the government machinery. But, except for the Communist Party of India, no other political party has come forward to file their responses," he added.
There has been a tepid response from others as well. The commission issued about 60 notices, including to media organisations, political leaders, columnists and academics.
"I have issued letters to media organisations, columnists and professors who wrote articles on this issue. But two years have passed and I am still to get their submissions," he said.
These include religious organisations who often make comments on the issue, Mohapatra added.
"I have issued notices to several Christian organisations. But I did not get desirable responses."
"I have also issued notices to media organisations that reported the incident. But not a single media organisation has come forward to file its response yet," he rued.
Amongst the few who did respond were tribal group Kui Samaj, Hindu rightwing organisation Hindu Jagaran Manch and the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath.
"Some BJP leaders also filed their responses in their individual capacities," he said.
The result of the tardy progress has meant that the commission, which was initially given six months and has already got three extensions, is still not ready with its report. The tenure of the Mohapatra investigation ends September 17, 2010, and another extension is inevitable.
"I am not at all happy with the pace of the probe. I need to find out the root of the matter. I need at least two more years to complete the probe," Mohapatra said.
Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on August 23, 2008.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the violence as a national shame as more than 25,000 Christians were displaced after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held them responsible for Saraswati's killing, although police blamed Maoist guerrillas.
Mohapatra, a former Orissa high court judge, was appointed in October the same year to probe the murders and the subsequent violence.