Government Urged to Act In Attacks On Christians
In an urgent plea to the Government of India the
Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North
America (FIACONA) has highlighted the continuing instances of
attacks on Christians in India by extreme factions of Indian society.
The Federation, whose mission includes raising awareness both
in India and the US about issues of human rights and the rights
of minorities in India, has said that theGovernment of India is
failing in its constitutional duty to protect Christian populations
in states such as Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa and Bihar.
Pointing to a stream of attacks in the last two months FIACONA
resident Reverend Bernard Malik said, "We are grieved to
note the recent atrocity against a church and its worshipping
congregation in Karnataka on the weekend of Pentecost, when dozens
of Hindu fanatics attacked during a worship service, injuring
the pastor and his associate. The attack reportedly took place
right after the Sunday worship at an Assembly of God congregation
in Shrirangapattana taluka Near Mysore allegedly by members of
the Bajrang Dal." Rev Malik expressed his disappointment
at the local police in addressing the situation. Apparently a
written assurance was extracted from the pastor and his associate
that they would not hold any more services in that place of worship.
This month's attack was the latest in a series of reported violent
incidents against the Assembly of God church and other believers.
The pastor and his associate were also attacked in April last
year and allegedly beaten inside their church before being taken
to the same police station where they claimed they were kept for
the whole night.
Another reported attack took place against members of the Christian
organization 'Youth With A Mission' on May 5 in Kalkari village
in Karnataka's northern district of Dharwad. The youth members
were apparently dragged to a nearby Hindu temple and made to bow
down before an idol. They were then taken by some Hindu militants
to the Police station where they were accused of "disturbing
Fortunately there were no serious injuries in this episode.
News from Kerala this month reports that eight students of Darseba
Bible College, run by the India Pentecostal Church at Chettimukku,
near Kozhencherry, were injured on Thursday when they were assaulted
allegedly by a group of motorbike-borne persons allegedly with
RSS connections. The incident took place when the victims were
waiting by the roadside to attend a funeral. According to the
police, the Bible College students were attacked without any provocation.
FIACONA expressed its grief over the passing away of Catholic
priest, Father Mathew Uzhuthal at Patna's Kurji Holy Family Hospital
on May 1. Father Uzhuthal succumbed to the stab injuries he suffered
from an attack on him by a criminal youth at Mokama on April 11.
Mr. Abraham Mammen, National Vice President of FIACONA said "We
do not take much comfort from the fact that the attack was apparently
not motivated by anti-Christian sentiments but was a case of criminal
intimidation andassault for extortion of money. Father Uzhuthal
was a distinguished and learned man of God with a long record
of service to his diocese in Bihar."
FIACONA appealed to the Government of India to take serious note
of the spread of hate campaigns against Christian institutions
in certain states of India. Mr. Mammen noted that "The great
expectation that the Congress led UPA coalition would take strong
action against those who would disrupt the right of religious
freedom in India has not been borne out. The legacy of the BJP
led government still casts a big shadow over the nation. However
the reporting on these violations of human rights and the rights
of religious freedom in India by the local and national media
was improving and this is a matter of satisfaction."