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2007 Most Violent Ever for Christians in Modern India

ICC Note:

A summary look at the disturbing upward trend in violence against Christians after 2007 reports in as the most violent year ever for the church in India.
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1/10/2008 India (CrossWalk) With more than 800 attacks around Christmas time in Orissa state, the number of attacks on Christians in 2007 crossed 1,000 for the first time since India’s Independence in 1947.

At least 200 incidents of anti-Christian attacks, including four murders, had been recorded before violence erupted in Orissa’s Kandhamal district that killed at least four Christians and burned 730 houses and 95 churches, according to a report of a fact-finding team released by Christian leaders yesterday (January 8).

The AICC report charged there was “conspiracy to hide the bodies of Christians killed by VHP cadre to destroy evidence . . . Many are missing – both adults and children – in every village.”

The worst hit area was Barakhama village, about 12 kilometers (seven miles) from Baliguda, where 415 of the 450 houses belonging to tribal Christians were burned down, and six of the seven churches were vandalized, said the report.

The AICC report notes the first killing of a Christian, describing how 50-year-old Bhogra Naik of Barakhama was “cut into three pieces” after his house was destroyed.

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According to the figures of India’s home ministry, between 1950 and 1998 there were only 50 recorded anti-Christian attacks. The number shot to 100 in the year 2000, and from 2001 to 2005 at least 200 incidents of anti-Christian attacks were reported every year. The number of anti-Christian attack stood at 128 in 2006, according to the AICC and CLA.

“What is most distressing is the regularity at which these attacks are meticulously planned and almost clinically executed in order to hurt the Christians in the country,” Joseph said. “In all these instances of atrocities against Christians, it proved beyond doubt that some right-wing Hindu organizations were behind them; they indulge in unhindered hate campaigns creating bad blood between communities of different faiths, and that has caused immense social rupture in India.”

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