Christian Persecution in India Perpetrated by Local Police

ICC Note: Violent attacks against Christians in India, including assault, battery, rape and murder, have long gone ignored or under-investigated by local police officials. In the worst cases, local police officials have crossed the line from passive acquiescence to active participation in attacks on Christians. According to a report from India’s eastern state of Orissa, five Christians were killed by local police after being mistaken for Maoists. Were these killings intentional?          

2/14/2013 India (WorthyNews) – A key human rights official warned Tuesday, February 12, that corruption within the police and government of India’s eastern state of Orissa has contributed to renewed violence against Christians in which at least five people were killed, while several “innocent” believers remain jailed.

Sajan K. George, president of the influential group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), noted that relatives still await “justice and compensation” some three months after security forces shot dead four men and one woman, whom they allegedly mistook to be Maoist rebels.

The killed Christians, all farmers, were identified as Aiba Padra, 35, Shyamason Majhi, 50, Sanatan Mallick, 27, and Ghasiram Bagsingh, 33, from the aboriginal Khondh tribe. The other two, Ghasiram Bagsingh, 33, and Laxmi Kanta Nayak, the only woman, were Pano Dalits, the ‘lowest’ caste within India’s ancient system of Hinduism.

It was not immediately clear whether the Christians were targeted in the troubled Kandhamal district on November 14 for abandoning India’s main Hindu religion. However with high-level corruption and mounting anti-Christian feelings in the region, there is a lack of willingness among police and other officials to investigate the killings, according GCIC investigators.

In a letter, obtained by Worthy News, the brother of one of the victims also expressed doubts about police allegations that they opened fire after coming under attack.

‘PRE-PLANNED ATTACK’

“If you look at the whole incident it is pre-planned or arranged by the ‘sarpanch’,” or chief, “of the village,” said Brother Pramod of the Catholic Salesian order which is very active in Orissa and other areas.

He and other Christians say the victims were well-known and that no weapons were found at the site where they were killed.

“My elder brother…Ghasiram Bagsingh…was shot by the Special Operations Group along with four men without any reason,” he wrote.

“The bodies were taken to the police station and the families of those persons were really terrified and frightened to ask for the bodies because there was public noise that they died as encountered Maoists,” he recalled.

“Somehow we had grappled all our courage and got the bodies back.”

FUTURE UNCERTAIN

Yet, he is concerned about the future as his brother leaves behind a wife and four young children. “Now I am in dilemma what to do about them. I am in the seminary [and] I am [the] only male at home,” he wrote.

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