Written by Michael Fones
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 10:31
Mobs of Indians, spurred on by Hindu extremists, during the past eight weeks have torched an estimated 4,000 homes as well as churches, convents, and other church institutions, attacking, raping and killing Christians. An estimated 50,000 have fled to forests in rural provinces. At least two dozen people have been reported killed in the very poor Kandhamal district alone. Some who fled are living in a dozen relief camps set up by the government. Some, like the girl pictured in this post, have suffered burns and other injuries in the attacks.
Local observers say the government’s response to the violence has been woefully inadequate and Christians remain at the mercy of the mobs.
in an article posted by NCR,
Father John Fernandes, professor of Christian Studies at Mangalore University in Karnataka, told UCA New service that the anti-Christian incidents are part of "planned strategies" to garner votes for the 2009 election. "In terms of votes Christians are insignificant, but for uniting Hindus, the hate campaign is significant for them," the priest was quoted as saying last month.
While it is encouraging that people of good will from these three religious groups are speaking out, we need to make our voices heard, as well. As Fr. Fernandes points out, if such violence enables a group to grow more powerfully politically in an area of India where as much as 20% of the populace is Christian, similar tactics will be used in other states where Christians are a smaller minority.
He added he regretted that a polarizing "success" in one place motivates Hindu radicals to test the strategy in other areas.
Meanwhile, Christians have held rallies across India to protest the violence. In the port city of Mangalore in Western India, Christians, Hindus and Muslims organized a hunger strike and formed a human chain.
Please consider sending an e-mail to various political leaders in India. A sample letter and some e-mail addresses are provided here [N.B. there is a typo in President Patel's e-mail: the correct address is "
"]. In addition, please pray diligently for an end to the violence going on now in India, and for the thousands of Christians who are living in fear, especially those who have lost loved ones, been raped, or have seen their homes and businesses burned.