Kandhamal (Orissa): Armed Hindu attackers on Tuesday, September 16, 2008 shot dead four police constables and set fire to a police station in Orissa's riot-hit Kandhamal district.
According to Director General of Police Gopal Nanda, a large number of attackers armed with country-made guns and crude weapons gunned down a constable and set ablaze the police station at Gochapada early on Tuesday morning.
Other policemen present at the police station, located about 36 km from district headquarters town of Phulbani, seemed to have fled into the forest as they were heavily outnumbered by the attackers.
Kandhamal District Collector Krishan Kumar said the mob comprised about 500 people who were carrying fire arms and other weapons.
DGP and the district collector stated, additional security forces have been deployed in the area in the wake of the incident in the sensitive district which has been witnessing violence for the last three weeks..
Police sources said the mob was demanding release of a man held by the security personnel but local residents felt that the attack was retaliatory action of the police firing at Kurtamgarh in Tumudibandh area on September 13.
The roads leading to Gochapada had been blocked by logs and boulders which were being cleared to facilitate the movement of forces, the sources said.
The state police chief said it was not the first instance of a police station being attacked and torched by the radicals as similar incidents had taken place during the riots that had rocked Kandhamal district in December 2007.
Meanwhile a huge protest rally is organized on the afternoon of September 21st 2008, by Madras Diocese Bishop at St. George Higher Secondary School in Chennai, the Capital city of Tamil Nadu State. The rally is expected to bring around 30,000 Christians from all denominations including Roman Catholic and Church of South India to protest against the mass genocide by the Sangh Parivar backed VHP and Bajrang Dal groups in Orissa and attack on the Churches by Ram Sena, in Mangalore. The rally is organsied by. It would be followed by submission of the memorandum to the Governor.
Thiruvananthapuram (Tamil Nadu): A protest meet under the banner of the Pentacostal Fellowship of India was organised against attack on Christians in Orissa and Karnataka at Parassala near here today.
The 'prayer meeting', as the sit-in was called, was addressed by state Civil Supplies Minister C Divakaran and senior Congress leader G Karthikeyan.
The BJP state unit came out in strong protest against the presence of the minister, a CPI nominee in the cabinet, at the protest meet.
Addressing hundreds of believers, who turned up to participate in the demonstration, Divakaran said the attack on minorities in Orissa and Karnataka amounted to an assault on the country's secular ethos.
“He said such a thing would not happen in Kerala under the LDF rule. If anybody sought to direct violence against the minorities, they would be dealt with sternly”, he said.
Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh): A group of five persons came with Air Guns to the Caramel Convent in Banduha village under the Ghatia Police station area in Ujjain district, Madhya Pradesh and assaulted the watchman Amar Singh, at around 1:30am of Tuesday morning. He was found with multiple gun wounds at three places but he is out of danger now. “The culprits asked me to call the sisters at the convent but I told them that they are out of station. They beat me and asked me to cry loud so that sisters would come out. When I disobeyed them they shot me with air gun and went away."
Police said that since the persons had covered their faces nobody could be identified.
Ujjain Superintend of Police said “We are using all information to arrest the accused. We come to know very late that there was slipper of the accused, we will use dog to trace the culprits. We have taken all steps to give better security to Christian institutions in the district."
Bishop Dr. Sebastian Vadakkel has expressed deep sorrow over the incident. He has called people of good will to extend support to the Christian community. He said," We have launched an FIR and we hope that police will nab the culprits soon."
Father Hans says that it is not the first time that incident like this has taken place here. “Last year also we faced a situation like this. We have approached the district administration for security.”
"It cannot be treated as stray incident in Madhya Pradesh; there are series of attacks taking place here. It is always done in different methods; we are in touch with the higher officials and leaders from different socio-political organizations. We are peace loving people so violence is not our way of living." said Father Anand Muttungal.
Evangelical Fellowship of India requests prayers for the safety of the suffering Christians even as the cases of Persecution flares up in BJP led States.
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