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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Violence Against Christians in India Continues

Violence Against Christians in India Continues
131 Violent Attacks Reported in 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 30, 2013 – A newly issued report documents
the ongoing persecution of Christians in India. According to the 2012
Christian Persecution Report, which was conducted by the Evangelical
Fellowship of India, a Delhi-based organization, there were 131
reported incidents of violence against Christians in 2012, most
carried out by radical Hindu organizations with the tacit support of
the police. These included cases of harassment, intimidation, false
accusations, arrests, and physical attacks. India has killed more
than 300,000 Christians in Nagaland since 1948 (plus many more
throughout the country.) The report shows that Karnataka recorded 37
attacks, Chhattisgarh 21 and Madhya Pradesh 18.

"Hate crimes against tribal Christians are compounded by police
apathy," said Abraham Mathai, president of Indian Christian Voice. "If
the police could drive out gangsters like Dawood Ibrahim and Chhota
Rajan, can they not stop these Hindu fanatics?" Mr. Mathai added that
"Most of these attacks are targeted at the tribal population, mainly
because there is less police supervision in these areas. In Palghar,
the tribal Christians have been living in constant fear after their
prayer meetings were disrupted by the locals."

"The cases mentioned are the ones where Christian groups have been
attacked because of their religion, with the primary motivation of
disrupting prayer meetings and conversions," said Tehmina Arora,
advocate, EFI. The Delhi-based organization, that has been compiling
such reports since 2005, had released the 2012 report in the capital
last week. The organization compiled the cases over one year through
police information as well as direct complaints. "Though the cases
have marginally decreased from 2011, it is mainly because many such
instances continue to go undocumented. In many cases, the police
refuse to file first information reports and people are also often
hesitant to approach the police," said Arora. John Dayal of the All
India Christian Council, who helped compile the report, said that
"many incidents go unreported." Thus, the actual number of incidents
may be higher.

The repression of Christians mirrors the repression of Sikhs and other
minorities. As Narinder Singh, a spokesman for the golden Temple,
said, ``The Indian government, all the time they boast that they are
secular, that they are democratic. They have nothing to do with a
secularism, nothing to do with a democracy. They kill Sikhs just to
please the majority.'' And Sikhs are unfortunately not the only ones.
According to Sardar Simranjit Singh Mann, a former Member of
Parliament, the Indian government has murdered over a million Sikhs
since 1982. Sardar Inderjit Singh Jaijee, author of The Politics of
Genocide, and Bibi Baljit Kaur of the Movement Against State
Repression (MASR) told Dr. Aulakh that if it were not for the efforts
of the Council of Khalistan, that number might be ten times as high.
India has also killed more over 100,000 Muslims in Kashmir since 1988
(as well as at least 2,000 to 5,000 in Gujarat), and tens of thousands
of Tamils, Assamese, Manipuris, Dalits, Bodos, and others. The Indian
Supreme Court called the Indian government's murders of Sikhs "worse
than a genocide." The police have abducted more than 50,000 young
Sikhs, tortured and murdered them, then their bodies were declared
unidentified and cremated.

According to a report by the Movement Against State Repression (MASR),
52,268 Sikhs and tens of thousands of other minorities are being held
as political prisoners in India without charge or trial. Some have
been in illegal custody since 1984! Tens of thousands of other
minorities are also being held as political prisoners, according to
Amnesty International.

Dalits (the dark-skinned “Untouchables”) still cannot get out of the
repression of India's caste system, which is still in force even
though it was banned by the Constitution 63 years ago. A Dalit
constable entered a Hindu temple on a rainy day and was stoned to
death. A Dalit girl was blinded by her teacher for drinking from the
community water pitcher. To this day, a high-caste Brahmin cannot
tolerate the shadow of a Dalit, but Brahmins feel free to have sex
with young Dalit girls without getting “contaminated.”

“We condemn these attacks on Christians,” said Dr. Gurmit Singh
Aulakh, President of the Council of Khalistan. Just as the Indian
regime has oppressed Sikhs, it has oppressed Christians and other
religious minorities,” Dr. Aulakh. “India must respect the freedom of
all, including the right to self-determination. We must have a free
Khalistan and the Christians must enjoy the glow of freedom as well,”
Dr. Aulakh noted. “Freedom is the birthright of all.”