BosNewsLife – An influential hard-line Hindu group has accused church leaders of fighting for an independent state in northern India and supporting ethnic clashes to achieve this goal, BosNewsLife monitored Thursday, October 27. The announcement by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was expected to add to tensions between Christians and Hindus, especially in the troubled Karbi Anglong district of India’s Assam state, which has been rocked by ethnic and religious fighting.
In recent violence, thousands of people of the Karbis and Dimasas tribes fled the region, including mostly women and children, news reports said. Most of them left to a nearby area known as Nagaland, where Hindu militants now claim church leaders try to establish Greater Nagaland.
Human rights watchers have suggested however that Hindu groups are trying to create ethnic tensions in the area to prevent the spread of Christianity there, amid reports that many churches are growing among tribes of India .
In a resolution adopted at a meeting in Chitrakoot, one of the most ancient pilgrimage places of Hindus in India , the RSS accused churches of “dividing” three North-Eastern states, to create Greater Nagaland.
The RSS, which has been linked to attacks against Christians and churches, also said “it is the constitutional and democratic duty of the administration and political leadership to initiate moves to defeat the communal forces,” seen as a reference to apparently new actions by the group.
“The demand to include some districts of the north-eastern state of Manipur in the proposed Greater Nagaland will put the very existence of the small state in jeopardy and therefore the resistance of people is natural and justified,” the RSS said.
It claimed the proposed Greater Nagaland would also include parts of Karbi-Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts where Hindus are present in large numbers.
“The separatist forces are trying to create divide between the Karbis and Dimasas who were so far cohabiting peacefully to achieve their plan. Many were killed as a result and thousands rendered homeless,” the RSS said.
Christian leaders have denied involvement in ethnic violence and say they are trying to spread the Gospel in the area despite attacks from militants. Organizations such as Gospel For Asia have also thousands of native missionaries working in remote regions of India .
News of the latest RSS threats towards Christians came shortly after 30 Hindu militants attacked a pastor, his wife and their driver in the western state of Gujarat on October 23, a Christian news agency reported Thursday, October 27.
Compass Direct said the three sustained internal injuries. The Rev. Arthur Jebaraj and his wife, Nyana Sundari Jebaraj, and their driver, Dattu Daulat, all belonging to the Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMPB), an indigenous Christian organization, were reportedly assaulted in Kaparada Taluka, in south Gujarat state.
Hindu “extremists” also attacked Christians in the Banswara district of India’s Rajasthan state, resulting in the cancellation Thursday, October 27, of the last day of a revival festival, news reports said.
Compass Direct claimed the violence accelerated Tuesday, October 25, when the Tribal Christian Welfare Societys revival meetings began in the Sagwa area. 50 incidents of beatings reportedly occurred in the last few days, prompting government officials to order the Society to cancel the remainder of the three-day festival. Normally 15,000 people attend the gathering, but only 5,000 made it past marauding “extremist gangs” before the event was cancelled after a prayer for victims of the attacks, Compass Direct said.
Several advocacy groups have expressed concern about what they see as mounting violence against Christians across India , a mainly Hindu nation of over 1 billion people.