EFI News Persecution Watch, January 27, 2011

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January 27, 2011

Christian seriously injured in Chhattisgarh

On 12 January in Sirisguda, Jagdalpur, Chhattisgarh, Hindu extremists beat up a Christian for following Jesus Christ and seriously injured him.

Our correspondent, Rev Akhilesh Edgar reported that Hindu extremists attacked a Christian convert from Hinduism, Itu Veko, from Obedient Life Church. Veko accepted Christ as his Lord one year back and the area extremists have been threatening to harm his life since then. However, Veko continues to faithfully attend the church.

At about 10 a.m., Hindu extremists led by Jintu Gond abused him verbally for his faith, ordered him to return to Hinduism and mercilessly beat him up. The Christian received a life threatening injury on his head and is receiving treatment in a Goverment Hospital.

Area Christian leaders submit a complaint in Badanji Thana. No arrests have been made at press time.

Pastor, evangelists beaten up in Maharashtra

On 6 January in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, alleged Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal attacked three Christians and seriously injured them.

Our correspondent reported that the extremists stopped Pastor Thomas George and Evangelists Akhil Prasanna and Shiju Matthew as they were distributing gospel tracts and started to beat them up. The extremists took the Christians to the police station where they were forced to put down in writing that they will not do any mission work in future.

Thereafter, the Christians went to the market for some errand when the extremists suddenly rushed on them and beat them up. The extremists punched and kicked the Christians, pushing them to the ground, stomping on them.

The Christians lost their bicycles and goods they bought. All three received hospital treatment.

Supreme Court's Judgement on the Murder of Graham Staines

EFI welcomes the Supreme Court of India’s suo moto decision to expunge a portions from the recent Supreme Court (SC) judgement which had drawn large scale criticism from both civil society and Christian community in India.

A bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan on its own issued clarifications to its judgment on January 25. Speaking for the bench, Justice Sathasivam deleted the portion that read: "In the case on hand, though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death... at Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity." The bench has now replaced these lines with: "However, more than 12 years have elapsed since the act was committed, we are of the opinion that the life sentence awarded by the HC need not be enhanced in view of the factual position discussed in the earlier paras."

Similarly the bench has re-phrased another paragraph criticising conversion. "It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone's belief by way of use of force, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon flawed premise that one religion is better than the other." The court has now changed it to: "There is no justification for interfering in someone's religious belief by any means."

On January 21 , the Supreme Court, concurred with the Orissa High Court verdict while declining to sentence Dara Singh to death and held the case did not fall into the rarest of the rare category and imposed life imprisonment to Singh and co – accused Hebram while acquitting 12 others.

Missionary Staines and his two minor sons Philip (10) and Timothy (6) were burnt to death while they were sleeping in a station wagon at Manoharpur village in Keonjhar district Jan 22, 1999. The then President of India, Shri K. R. Narayanan, had described the murders as "belonging to the inventory of black deeds of history" and a "monumental aberration from the tradition of tolerance and humanity for which India is known"..

An appeal to write to authorities

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra appealing to them to safe guard the rights of the minority communities and to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.

Dr. Raman Singh
Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh
Chief Minister Niwas, Raipur
Email: [email protected]

(O) Tel: (0771) 2221000 ; 2221001 ; 2331001
(O) Fax: (0771) 2221306
(R) Tel: (0771) 2331000

Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Shri Ashok Chavan
'Varsha' Malbar Hill, Bhausaheb Hiray Marg,
Malabar Hill, Mumbai - 400 006.
E-mail: [email protected]

(O) Tel: (022) 22025151 ; 22025222
(O) Fax: (022) 23633272;
(R) Tel: (022) 23633051 ; 23634950

Issued By:
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
General Secretary
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