September 22, 2008: Contrary to the Orissa government's claim that the situation in riot hit Kandhama district is returning to normalcy, there were reports of arson, kidnapping and torching of 10 houses in Gochhapada police area on Sunday, September 21.
On September 20, 2008 thirty three year old Ishwar Digal, from the Gatringia village in Tikabali block, Kandhamal was waylaid as he and his wife Bhumi were coming back to their relief camp in Phulbani town, through a forest.
Digal had gone to visit his ailing father who is paralysed. Around 8.30pm the activists came to Digal's house and threatened him to convert to Hinduism and went away. Sensing danger Digal along with his wife managed to escape in the cover of the night.
Unfortunately the fundamentalists were able to catch hold of them and hacked him to death. His wife however managed to flee and went to Sarangada police station where the case has been registered. The CRPF and the police are trying to recover the body.
Bangalore (Karnataka): Three churches in Bangalore and one in Kodagu district were targeted by miscreants on Sunday morning in Karnataka September 21, 2008.
According to reports, the culprits broke open the rear door of St James Church in the early hours using a metal rod, and desecrated the Blessed Sacrament, scattered the sacred bread, forced open the cupboards, ransacked the prayer hall, and decamped with two goldplated crowns (worth around Rs 17,000). They also emptied the offering box which contained around Rs 1,000.
In the second incident that occurred at Raja Rajeswari Nagar at around 8.15 am the saffron outfit pelted stones at the Holy Name of Jesus Church damaging the glass-panes and desecrating a statue.
True Gospel church located at Bhuvanahalli village in Devanahalli, Bangalore had also come under attack by the Hindutva radicals during early morning hours. This incident happened at about 3.30 am on September 21. The Hindu radicals barged inside the church and broke all the window glass, roof sheets and other furniture. The miscreants then again after the worship service was over pelted stones at the boundary wall and damaged it.
In Kodagu, a Brethren Church near Nellihudikeri in Siddapura was vandalized at midnight 12.30 am on September 20. The miscreants barged into the church and broke the glass panes futher damaging the other furniture. Pastor Samuel is ministering this church since 6 years. The church has a congregation of 35 believers. The evangelists were taken to Siddapura Police station for enquiry and were charged under Sections 149,143,295 and 448 of Indian Penal Code. Siddapura is 28 Kms away from Madikere. The evangelists belong to Free to Kids Ministry based in H D Kote.
Kochi (Kerela): Two churches, that stand on adjoining compounds one of them among the oldest in India, were vandalized by unidentified people in the early hours of Sunday on September 21 at Akapparambu in Nedumbassery panchayat, about 35 km from Kochi city, Kerala.
According to reports, a seven-foot statue of Christ in the cemetery of the 467-year-old Garvasis and Prothasis Church, belonging to the Syro-Malabar Church denomination, was broken and the pedestal was knocked off.
The Mar Sabore, a Syrian Cathedral Church, which was adjacent to it was also desecrated. It was the cleaning employee at the cathedral who first noticed that the holy chamber in which the sandalwood cot of St. Paulose Mar Athanasius Valiya Thirumentni was kept was damaged.
Fr. Paulose Arackaparambil, vicar at the cathedral church while talking to the media stated that the glass windows must have been smashed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
The cathedral, said to have been built in 825 A.D., is one of the ancient churches of the Jacobites.
Bhatinda (Punjab): Until recently, members of BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena and VHP would either attack Christians directly or use the media to accuse the Christians of Conversion. But since the formation of the coalition government between Akali Dal (B) & BJP in Punjab, they have started using some of the members of the Sikh Community against Christians.
On September 10th 2008, Police arrested a local evangelist Bahadur Giri along with two Christians Daljeet and Malkait Singh under Section 295A on charges of burning the Sikh Holy Scriptures. After 5 days of police custody the three were bailed out on September 15th, but a case has been registered against them in the court.
On September 16th 2008, another Christian convert Balkaran Singh was arrested under the above mentioned charges without any proof whatsoever. Later he was released on bail.
Around 30 pastors from different districts of Punjab met the District Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of District Bathinda and submitted a memorandum stating Cases of Christians being falsely implicated.
EFI requests prayers for the Christians in above mentioned States to remain firm in their faith.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations