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Indian Anti-Christian Violence to Be Packaged As “Ethnic Conflict”
Hindu Radicals Seek to Escape Accountability For Outpouring of Hatred and Murder

You are free to disseminate the following news. We request that you reference International Christian Concern and include our web address www.www.persecution.org. Contact Jeff King President, 1-800-ICC (422)-5441, [email protected]

(September 29, 2008) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just received a report from our representatives in India who have found that local officials are planning to spin the Orissa violence as “ethnic conflict” so that radical Hindu groups can avoid responsibility.

ICC is calling on the Indian national government to restore order and punish the perpetrators, and urges the US Congress to pass H. Con. Res. 434 to bring light to the situation.

ICC’s representatives, after visiting Orissa, have revealed that local officials in Orissa will attempt to package the current crisis as ethnic violence between the Dalits (untouchables) and tribal groups. However, leaders of radical Hindu groups have played a major role in planning and carrying out anti-Christian attacks. The leader of one of these groups said, “Christians have killed Swami. We will give a befitting reply We would be forced to opt for violent protests if action is not taken against the killers.”

The man who said this is the general secretary of the VHP, a member of a larger radical Hindu movement called the Sangh Parivar. He was speaking in response to the murder of a Hindu spiritual leader, Swami Laxmananand Saraswati, on August 23. Though a Maoist group claimed responsibility for the assassination, Hindu radicals blamed the Christians.

The reason for their hatred is that Dalits (untouchables) have been converting to Christianity in large numbers. This is seen as a threat to the Sangh Parivar, which is largely made up of Brahmins (high caste members).

If this violence can be packaged as ethnic conflict, the Hindu radical leaders can escape accountability for the attacks that were orchestrated by the Sangh Parivar and its affiliates, the RSS and VHP.

What this means is that the crisis in Orissa is far from over, despite government propaganda to the contrary. ICC’s representatives were able to get into relief camps that are off-limits to outsiders and interview many victims. Here are some of their key findings:

” All Christian denominations have been effected (Baptists, Pentecostals, Catholics, etc).
” We interviewed several women who lost their husbands and other loved ones.
” One Christian man lost his brother when Hindu fanatics poured gasoline on his brother and lit him on fire in front of his eyes.
” In just one district of Orissa, Kandhamal, 50 Christians were murdered (including pastors and evangelists), 6,000 Christians have had their homes burned down, and 300 Churches were destroyed.

You can help bring the Hindu extremists to justice by shining the light on what they are doing. The Honorable Congressman Todd Akin (Rep-MO) introduced H. Con. Res. 434, a bi-partisan resolution, on Friday to condemn the religious violence in India and call the Indian government to respond immediately.

If you are from the United States, please take a few minutes to call your Congressman from the House of Representatives and ask him or her to support and sign this resolution. They will need the number of the resolution. Please also tell them you are a constituent from their district. You can find your Representative at www.house.gov.