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Growing Persecution of Christians in India

ICC Note: The article below is a good overview of the increasing pressure on Christians in India, which much of the world is ignoring.

By Sandro Magister
5/19/08 India (Chiesa) – While the stern eyes of the world are turned toward China, in India equally severe violations of freedom and human rights are taking place amid general disinterest. With Christians as the victims.

The epicenter of the violence is Orissa, a state facing the Bay of Bengal, south of Calcutta. Here, since Christmas until now, there have been 6 deaths, 5,000 left homeless, and 70 churches, 600 homes, 6 convents, and 3 seminaries destroyed.

“An expanse of ashes, that’s what is left”, exclaimed Cardinal Telesphore Toppo, archbishop of Ranchi, after visiting the areas struck by anti-Christian violence.

But alarming news is arriving from other places in India as well.

In Maharashtra, the state whose capital is Mumbai, in the month of March two Carmelite sisters who for 13 years had carried out their ministry among the outcaste tribes were attacked by Hindu extremists. “They were shouting, accusing them of effecting conversions,” some of the witnesses reported.

In Madhya Pradesh, at Easter, the government had to deploy the military in defense of churches: the measure was taken after more than 100 acts of aggression since December of 2003, when the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party, won control of the local government.

In that same period, the parliament of another Indian state, Rajasthan, approved an anti-conversion law that inflicts a penalty of five years in prison and a fine of 50,000 rupees (about 1,250 dollars) on those who carry out conversions “by force, coercion, or fraud.” With Rajasthan, there are now six Indian states where this kind of norm is in force, which is in fact aimed against the Christian missionaries… [Go To Full Story]