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The Anti-Christian Pogrom in India: 60 Dead, Tens of Thousands Homeless

John on October 20, 2008 at 11:31 am

On Friday, the BBC published a piece updating the situation in Orissa, India:

It was a neighbour, a man Father Thomas Chellan knew well, who went to search for a tyre to set alight around the 57-year-old priest’s neck. One of the first victims of the antiChristian pogroms that have swept India for the past two months, he had already been beaten to his knees, stripped and doused with paraffin by the Hindu mob who had dragged him from his hiding place. “From now, you will pray only to Ram,” shouted his attackers, their foreheads smeared with blood-red vermillion.

As one of the mob fumbled with a box of matches, the 28-year-old nun the priest had been hiding with in the village of Nuagaon in the remote jungle state of Orissa was hauled away. In a police report filed the next morning she said she was gang-raped by four men.

Father Thomas’s life was saved when one of the mob suggested that the priest be burnt alive farther down the street “where more people could see”. The mob agreed and moved on but failed to settle on a new site. “I thought, my God, now I’m going to die,” Father Thomas said. “For these people, Christians are like animals.”

Many Indians are shocked but few are surprised by the horrors in Orissa — a wave of murder and arson that has claimed 60 lives, destroyed more than 4,000 houses and left as many as 50,000 Christians homeless.

[...]

The 500 refugees in the dilapidated YMCA building in Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa, were in no doubt as to the loyalty of the Hindu fanatics who razed their villages and killed their relatives. Asked who was responsible for their plight, group by group they hissed: “RSS, RSS.”

That stands for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (or National Volunteers’ Organisation). Founded in 1925 and enormously influential, the RSS’s stated mission is to transform constitutionally secular India into a wholly Hindu state. Some say that it is using Orissa as a “laboratory” to test its tactics.

For decades the organisation has polarised India. It is remembered fondly by many for the support it gave to millions of destitute Hindus during Partition. Others say it resembles the Mafia, the Black Shirts and the KKK, and note that it trained Nathuram Godse, the Hindu radical who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi.

Now, with its sister organisations Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP, its theological offshoot) and Bajrang Dal (a youth wing), the RSS stands accused of inciting and even organising Orissa’s anti-Christian uprising.

One final note. This article, which contains not a single example of violence by Christians, was given a subheading by the BBC which reads:

Hindus and Christians are at each other’s throats in Orissa, one of India’s poorest states

Shame on the BBC, though they’re hardly alone in trying to create moral equivalence where none exists.

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Category: Religion & Faith |

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