Mangalore (Karnataka): Several traumatized women, including nuns, turned up to pour out tales of excesses by policemen of this coastal city to Girija Vyas, chairperson of the National Commission for Women, here on Wednesday.
Sisters Selma, Denesia, Preethi and Rekha, all belonging to the Santa Cruz Convent next to Cordel Church at Kulashekar, showed their wounds to Vyas and told her how, on Monday, policemen had rushed into the convent and church wielding their canes and firing teargas shells.
“More than a hundred of us inside the convent were hurt. I was trembling with fear and managed to shout at one policeman not to touch my body. A few minutes later, another policeman hit me with a lathi as I was washing my face to wipe the effects of teargas shells. A little later, I found a boy in an unconscious state and bleeding in the head. We were scared to go out for treatment and sat trembling inside the convent for a long time,” Sister Selma, 61, said.
These women later mobbed Krishna Palemar, the district in-charge minister, and top district officers. Some of them met JD-S chief H.D. Deve Gowda, seeking his intervention.
Vyas said: “I was horrified when I met the nuns. The police action is awful and shameful. We want a separate inquiry against these officers. We want the government to answer why these policemen entered schools and churches and even got on to the roof to beat up women and children. We want peace to be restored and protection for these women. I have told the home minister (Dr V.S. Acharya) that he must taken action against these policemen and officers.”
Acharya admitted to cases of police excesses. “When policemen move in to take action against a mob, there are bound to be such cases. The good news is that the city has returned to normalcy on the third day itself. On Thursday, we will take a decision in the cabinet on who should head the inquiry into all these incidents.”
He, however, continued to hold the New Life Fellowship Trust responsible for the attacks.
Delhi: In the morning of September 17, 2008 certain miscreants forcibly took possession of a lawn in front of the Catholic Church “Prabhu Prakash Girija” (Gods Light Church) in Trilokpuri area situated in East Delhi, which was being maintained by the Catholic Church since its inception in the year 1991. The miscreants broke open an outside gate to the lawn as well as the inside gate leading from the church and threatened to construct a temple on the said land. They have also locked the outside gate to the lawn/ garden as well as the inside gate leading from the church to the lawn.
It is a well planned move to create a confrontation with the Church in Delhi too after the incidents in Orissa, Karnataka and Kerala. The miscreants have resorted to this step to gauge the reaction of the church before doing anything further.
It is also pertinent to mention that just last week a small temple was constructed over night on the side wall of this very church and certain statues of Hindu Gods were put up which was subsequently removed after the intervention of local Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs)in the area.
The church priest later explained that it was anticipated that there would be communal tension in the area and the church would have to face the brunt of these miscreants.
Kandhamal (Orissa): Major Paul Kumar Sahani, an officer of the Salvation Army along with his wife and 40 children took refuge in the jungles in the wake of communal riots. Without food, water and basic necessities Major Paul was left with little choice then to return back to their Salvation Army house in Paburia accompanied by his wife and children. On their return both Major Paul and his wife surrendered to local Hindu leader of the village and pleaded him to spare the lives of 40 children offering their lives in exchange.
Their lives were spared as well on the condition that they leave the place and never return. Major Paul and his wife along with 40 children then manage to reach the Government Relief Camp in G. Udyagiri. After reaching there Major Paul contacted the guardians of these 40 children and handed them over.
The Salvation Army Paburia boys’ home was set on fire by the incited mob and is totally destroyed.
The three Salvation Army Officers (Pastors)in the Indian Northern Territory of Salvation Army fled and hid themselves in the nearby jungles to escape the carnage. Their offices at Penaborbari and Sartaguda now stand desolate. They have now safely reach the Angul District, one of the few districts of Orissa which was untouched by the communal agenda of the Sangh.
Still about 100 Salvation Army workers and their families are scattered at different places all across Orissa. Without food, water, clothing or medicines their whereabouts are not yet known and their lives may be at great peril.
Evangelical Fellowship of India requests prayers for the safety of the Christians across India who are now becoming the soft target because they practice their faith centered in the Love of Christ and sacrificial service of humanity empowering the poor and the marginalized.
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