November 24, 2019

‘The 2008 attacks in Kandhamal were widespread, and were executed with substantial planning and preparation. The violence meets all the elements of ‘crimes against humanity’ as defined in applicable international law. Christians who refused to abandon their faith and convert to Hinduism were brutally killed or injured,” according to a 2011 inquiry report.

Abdul Bari Masoud | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI –  Violence against the Christians continued to rise in India as 145 women and 106 children were injured in 275 anti-christian violence incidents this year. United Christian Forum (UCF) hate-tracker recorded 275 violent incidents against them since the beginning of this year till the end of October (2019). It’s an increase from the last year when 218 incidents were reported.

192 out of 275  incidents were in the form of intimidation and threats by a vigilante mob led by Hindutva groups which are allegedly having tacit support from the ruling party BJP. According to UCF hate-tracker, on an average it counts for 27.5 incidents in a month in the last 10 months. There were 145 women and 106 children who were injured in these mob violence.

It should be a matter of grave concern for every-right thinking person who believe in the rule of the law,  A C Michael, National Coordinator of UCF, told Caravan Daily.  Since the advent of the BJP-led government at the Center and in several states, the organized violence and attacks against Christian community never ceases to stop, Micheal, who is also a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, said.

He also shed lights on the details of some of the incidents of violence against Christians that took place in the month of October alone.

1: On October 24, Pradhan and members of the Gram Panchayat in a village of Odisha forcefully entered the houses of nine Christian families and burnt Bibles and other literature before the statue of a Hindu deity.

2: On October 22,  a mob of 35-40 barged into a peaceful prayer meeting at Fatehpur Tehsil in Dahod, Gujarat leveling false accusation of religious conversion severely assaulted the Pastor and outraged the modesty of a woman present there.

3: On October 25, 26 and 27, burial of a young girl and two old women was stopped by an unruly mob in three separate incidents in Bastar, Chhattisgarh and in West Singhbhum District of Jharkhand.

4: On October 21,  garbage was thrown in front of an under-construction Church in Bargah, Odisha and the pastor physically assaulted.

5: On October 20,  a group of 4-5 extremist people threatened and demanded to shut down the church in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

6:On October 18, a mob claiming to be Bajrang Dal members disrupted prayer service and desecrated Holy Communion, Bibles and other religious articles in Nehru Nagar, Madhya Pradesh. The church attenders were forcefully taken to the police station and questioned till late evening.

7: On October 13, we received a complaint that the Christian families residing in Raghunathpur, Jharkhand are being socially ostracized and deprived of basic amenities of the village.

8: On the same day in a village of Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, the SDM and CO Officer came and asked the Pastor to remove the tent wherein about 6000 people were in prayer service. Even though the pastor got the tent removed very next day the police filed FIR against the Pastor.

9: On October 12, a mob of 30 religious fanatics assaulted verbally and physically those present at an outreach program at Golakunta village in Andhra Pradesh.

10: On October 5, three Christian families consisting of 24 members in village Sukama of Chhattisgarh were threatened, socially ostracized and forced leave the village.

11: On October 6, a mob of 100 people disrupted prayer of Christians in Navsari, Gujarat. On the same day in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh another mob of Hindutva fanatics forcefully took a pastor and his wife to a police station for conducting prayer service.

12: Even on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, a mob of 30 extremist people forcefully entered into a Christian’s home wherein birthday celebrations were going on. They were forced them to chant Jai Sri Ram and damaged the property.

It is also a matter of concern that the Police and the local administration are not taking prompt action against perpetrators of violence as the trend of not filing FIRs against them continued, Michael said.

“Out  of these 275 incidents only 32 FIRs registered against them. This shows the tacit understanding between violence perpetrators and the police, which obviously enjoys patronage of local political leaders or officials,” he added.

He underlined the fact that since 2014, when BJP came to power, the attacks on Christians have increased consistently like 292 in 2018, 240 in 2017, 208 in 2016, 177 in 2015 and 147 in 2014.

As a matter of fact, according to the World Watch List of 50 countries, India is the 10th most dangerous country in the world to live in for Christians as against 28th in the year 2014.

Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF India said it is worrying to see these horrendous acts of mobocracy still continuing even after a slew of directions to the government from the Supreme Court.

Pointing towards the Hindutva groups, she insisted that unless the political forces stop encouraging the people from taking power into their own hands; the ‘mob’ culture is likely to become a norm.  She also alleged that by failing to take action against violent mobs, the police are fueling this trend and the culture of impunity.

courtesy caravan Daily