John on August 31, 2008 at 1:20 pm
BHUBANESWAR, India (AFP) â€” Two people were injured when police fired on rioters in the latest religious violence between Hindus and Christians in eastern India, officials said Sunday.
Fourteen people have died in days of unrest sparked by the killing last weekend of a popular Hindu holy leader in Orissa state.
The violence has brought strong condemnation from the Pope and the Italian government.
“Two people have been seriously injured. The situation is more or less peaceful after the incident,” top administrative official Balakrushna Sahu told AFP.
The latest riots erupted in Koraput district late Saturday, with violence declining in Kandhamal district — the epicentre of the clashes.
A curfew has been lifted in several towns in Kandhamal, but has been imposed around the scene of the latest riot.
Thousands of people, mainly Christians, have fled to the jungles or government shelters after their houses were burnt down.
You’re literally halfway through the story before you learn the “mainly Christians” are fleeing the violence. Actually, I have yet to see evidence that anyone but Christians is fleeing the violence or that anyone but Hindus are committing the violence. If the AFP has any evidence on that point, they aren’t sharing it.
The AFP spin-meisters also fail to mention that the Hindu leader killed was likely killed by Maoists. Maoists have taken credit for it and the government investigators have indicated this is likely the case. Isn’t that a rather significant ommision from the story?
Finally, the AFP is sure to get in a representative of the muderous mob to explain his side of the story:
Hardline Hindus accuse missionaries of “bribing” poor tribals and low-caste Hindus, who often face strong discrimination, to convert to Christianity by offering free education and health care.
“The conversions are conducted either through allurement, force, deception or all,” right-wing Hindu leader Gouri Rath told a press conference in Orissa state capital Bhubaneshwar on Sunday.
Any proof for this claim? Of course not. But it does shed some light on the sympathies of this individual who commented on my earlier post. It just happens that he is taking the same line as hardline Hindu leaders quoted by the AFP.
The only truth behind this is that Christians have reached out to the “least of these” in India, trying to get them out from under the crushing caste system by which India apportions education and government jobs. Currently, the Hindus benefit from that system at the expense of the lower caste “pana Christians.” The Christians are increasingly demanding their share of the largess. Hence, hindu riots and an attempt to religiously cleanse the area. And that explanation sits well with this comment from a genuine Christian in India who said:
Most often all they do [Christians] is run a small clinic or a school. School! Literacy! These are powerful agents of change. Ushering in dreaded thoughts in most radical hindus minds of dalits rising up in millions and questioning the caste system.
It’s about time someone questioned this absurd Hindu take on the world.