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Uttar Pradesh: Fanatical Hindus Attack Christian Missionary

ICC Note:

Radical Hindus attack Christian missionary with intent to kill, accusing him of proselytism of the local tribe, but the villagers defended him, rescuing him from the mob.

by Prakash Dubey

AsiaNews (10/02/06) – Around 50 Hindu fanatics assaulted a Christian missionary, Chin Min Thang, on 24 September, accusing him of proselytism of members of the Tharu tribe, one of the poorest in the country. The tribal people themselves defended Chin, who works as a teacher in the Najota village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Thang Boi, who educates Tharu children together with Chin, told AsiaNews what happened: “These fanatics came to the village in broad daylight, armed with iron rods and even firearms. I crept away. They forcibly entered the room of my colleague, ransacked it and threw his belongings out. Then they dragged him outside.”

Boi, who escaped the assailants, continued: “As soon as the villagers realized what was going on, they promptly intervened to defend Chin. The attackers fired threatening shots into the air but the villagers refused to leave. Had they not intervened, the mob would have lynched him.” As the fanatics were leaving, they warned Chin: “If you do not quit the village and stop your conversion works, we will kill you!”

Boi said: “We seek to promote education among the tribal people. But as Christians we are also committed to spreading the Good News and to speaking of love, faith and hope. We hold prayer programs for those who are interested. We have never used any coercion or manipulation or any inducement for conversions.

The two belong to the Baptist Church of the Church of North India (CNI) and they have been working in the area for the past five years. The school was opened by their Church community with plans to educate children to attain high school diplomas.

After the attack, the two Christians went to the local police station on 27 September to file a report. The police, informed about the identity of the assailants, have not even started their inquiries yet. According to the village residents, the police officers are in collusion with the Hindu fanatics.

Jagat Rana, leader of the Tharu, told AsiaNews that the tribals “were spread across dozens of villages in the area, but deprived of government-run educational institutions. Our children are by and large forced to remain illiterate.”

However, around 10 years ago, he continued, “Christian organizations arrived and started to sow seeds of education for our Tharu children. The Christians do talk about their Bible and practice their religious rituals, but they never asked or forced anyone to convert.”

Rana said “some Tharus attend their programs but there is no harm in that because Christians are not teaching violence or hatred. Rather they give the message of love and human solidarity.”

The tribal leader wondered why “these Hindus are bothered about all this. Where were they when we had no schools? Why are they against these innocent Christians who are concerning themselves about us? I think it is all a conspiracy to keep us in ignorance, forced to work as slaves on their land not to die of hunger.”

He added: “Our community will stand behind these Christians under all circumstances. They are the saviors of our children from the darkness of illiteracy.”