Hindu extremism and religious intolerance has continued to grow in India as the country prepares to review its worst instance of Christian persecution. In 2008, anti-Christian riots swept across India’s Orissa state, now called Odisha, leaving 100 Christians dead, 56,000 people displaced, 6,000 Christian homes destroyed, and 300 churches demolished. According to a commission set up to inquire into the violence, it is taken 7 years to complete its investigation because of lack of cooperation by interested parties, including the government. A report on the investigation is set to be released in December.
11/5/2015 India (Christian Post) – An inquiry into the 2008 massacre of nearly 100 Christians in Orissa, India, has concluded its investigation and is set to publish its findings amid reports that Hindu extremism is rising again.
Fides News Agency said that the detailed report of the investigation, which looks into the worst anti-Christian violence in India’s history, will be published in December.
Judge A.S. Naidu, head of the Commission of Inquiry, explained that “because of the lack of cooperation of many stakeholders, including the government, it took almost seven years to finish the investigation.”
The Commission investigated the sequence of events on Aug. 23-31, 2008, which sparked a wave of attacks on Christians in Orissa, leaving almost 100 believers dead, 56,000 people homeless, and 300 churches and 6,000 homes raided and looted.
The riots targeted Dalits, also known as the “Untouchables” in the lowest caste system, because many had made the decision to convert to Christianity.
A number of Christian women, as well as nuns, were also raped in the attacks.
A separate Fides report on Wednesday noted that Hindu extremists are stirring up tensions again, with the “Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh” group accusing religions minorities, like Christians and Muslims, of “infiltration in Indian territory” and of “political conversion.”
Recent demographic statistics have shown that those who identify with the Hindu religion have fallen from 88 percent to 83.8, while the Muslim and Christian populations have been rising. The RRS group has blamed religious minorities for threatening the “unity, integrity and identity of the country.”
The extremists noted that in some states, like in Arunachal Pradesh, the Christian population increased by nearly 13 percent in a single decade, which they claimed is evidence of “targeted religious conversion.”
The radical group is asking the Indian government to prepare a national register of citizens, which will be divided by religion. Indian Christians have said they are opposed to such plans, fearing that they can incite religions hatred and violence against minorities.