International / Asia Pacific
Hindu Threat to Christians: Convert or Flee
By SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: October 13, 2008

Christians in eastern Orissa State in India say they are being forced to leave their faith in exchange for safety…

Their (Kandha’s, the Hindu group) grievances have erupted in sporadic clashes over the past 15 years, but they have exploded with a fury since the killing of Swami Laxmanananda.  (The police have blamed Maoist guerrillas for the swami’s killing. But Hindu radicals continue to hold Christians responsible.)

Two nights after his death, a Hindu mob in the village of Nuagaon dragged a Catholic priest and a nun from their residence, tore off much of their clothing and paraded them through the streets.

The nun told the police that she had been raped by four men, a charge the police say was borne out by a medical examination. Yet no one was arrested in the case until five weeks later, after a storm of media coverage. Today, five men are under arrest in connection with inciting the riots. The police say they are trying to find the nun and bring her back here to identify her attackers.

The New York times today had an article about the rising violence against Christians in India.  This unfortunately is not the first time I have heard about this, I recently heard about it on Chuck Colson’s BreakPoint podcast, Earning Our Trust, Persecution of Christians in India, 9/19/08.  Violence though against Christians has been rising for a long time and this rise seems to parallel the rise of nationalist Hindu movements.  I am not sure if the rise in the number of Indian Christians has caused this movement in Hindu nationalism or if it just happens to coincide but the violence against Christians does seem to trend with the rise of Hindu nationalism.

With the strong economic ties between the U.S. and India, many of us have built up relationships with many good Indian friends, most who are Hindu.  I hope these bonds of friendships can be used to bring justice to these areas of suspicion and distrust.

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