India: Hindu Anti-Christian Pogrom Spreads

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Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | No. 495 | Wed 10 Sep 2008

The violent Hindu anti-Christian pogrom that erupted in Kandhamal
district, Orissa (north-east India), on 23 August continues to
rage. (For background see last week's RLP 494.)

In Orissa the violence has spread to engulf nine districts
indicating there is a high degree of VHP (World Hindu Council) co-
ordination. According to the national president of the Global
Council of Indian Christians, Mr Sajan K George, 'Truckloads of
[Hindu] militants from neighbouring states of Jharkhand,
Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have entered the
area to back up the VHP campaign. Armed with bombs, swords and guns
these VHP militants are pouncing on poor, weak and defenceless
Christians.' Compass Direct reports that on Sunday 7 September, a
mob of around 2000 Hindus attacked a church service in Bhudainjal
village, causing worshippers to flee. Two church workers were

According to Mr George some 3000 Christians have been forced to
convert to Hinduism over recent days in order to save their lives.
The police watch and do not intervene. One man said armed Hindus
chased him and his family into the forest where they were ordered
to convert or die. 'My children and wife were all crying in fear so
I agreed to take part in the ritual.' However this is terrorism,
not conversion.

A further atrocity is that relief camps in Kandhamal are now being
attacked. On the evening of 2 September, Hindutva terrorists
climbed onto the water tank at the relief camp in Habaq High School
and were about to empty a bag of poisonous chemicals into the
drinking water when they were caught by the security guard. On 3
September the camp at Vijoy High School reported their drinking
water had been poisoned. Fortunately this was discovered before the
water was dispensed. On 4 September a mob of some 2500 Hindu
nationalists invaded the camp at Tikabali Government High School
and stole the food supplies because they objected to Christians
'eating at government expense'. The police did not intervene. A
group of Hindu women unsuccessfully attempted to torch another
relief camp.

Violence is now erupting in other states controlled by the Hindu
nationalist Bharantiya Janata Party (BJP). On 5 September a mob of
Hindu nationalists violently attacked nuns of Mother Teresa's
Missionaries of Charity in Chhattisgarh and snatched the four
orphaned babies they were transporting for adoption. The Hindus
claimed the nuns were kidnapping the babies for forced conversion.
In Madhya Pradesh, Hindu nationalists burnt down the 86-year-old St
Bartholomew Anglican Church of North India in Ratlam city on Sunday
7 September. Police are trying to frame the church's Christian
watchman for the crime even though he was at home with his family
at the time. The state education department in Karnataka has issued
notices to scores of Christian schools that observed a day's
closure on August 29 in protest of the Orissa violence. Also in
Karnataka three churches in Davangere city have been ordered to
close. On Sunday 7 September a large mob of local Hindus invaded
the 18-year-old Mission Action Prayer Fellowship in Bada Village in
a rural area of Davangere where numerous churches are presently
under threat. They beat the pastor and believers and burnt the
church's Bibles, furniture, musical instruments, pulpit and cross.
They brought a media team and all the action was telecast live.


* God's merciful intervention to protect the lives of his people,
thanking him that multitudes were spared when attempts to poison
relief camps' water supplies were foiled.

* the Holy Spirit to bring peace, comfort and supernatural grace to
the grieving loved ones and fellow believers of more than 50
Christians who have now been killed.

* the 50,000 displaced Christians to find a unity previously
unknown; may the Church emerge from this fire in solidarity,
brotherly love and faith in Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit
forges Christian unity across race, caste and denomination.

* God to use the shame of this violence to trigger a national
awakening in India; may Indians across the nation reject Hindu
nationalism, recognising its ugliness and despising its violence.

* the present troubles to provide the Church with an opportunity
to share and explain the gospel in ways previously unattainable.

'"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my
ways," declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the
earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher
than your thoughts.' Isaiah 55:8,9 NIV




The violent Hindu anti-Christian pogrom that flared up on 23 August
in Kandhamal district in the north-east Indian state of Orissa
continues to rage. It now engulfs nine districts, indicating a high
level of VHP (Hindu World Council) orchestration. More than 50
Christians have been killed and multitudes have been raped, bashed,
burned and slashed. Some 50,000 Christians are displaced. Even the
relief camps are being attacked but, praise God, two attempts to
poison their water supplies have been thwarted. Furthermore, anti-
Christian violence is now erupting in other states. Churches have
been torched in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka whilst nuns from
Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity were violently assaulted in
Chhattisgarh. The central government appears paralysed. Please pray
for God's intervention.

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Elizabeth Kendal researched and authored this message.