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Major Rise in Attacks Against Christians in India State, Survey shows

Friday, January 27, 2006 | Tag Cloud

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewLife)-- A US-based religious rights group said Friday, January 27, that violence against the tiny Christian minority in India's north-central state of Madhya Pradesh increased by 45 percent during the last two years.

International Christian Concern (ICC), which investigates persecution of Christians, said a survey showed that the incidents occurred under the rule of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in Madya Pradesh where the Christian presence is as low as 0.3 percent.

The survey, conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Christian Association and the National Forum for Reconciliation, Religious Liberty and Social Justice was conducted among 4,105 Christians scattered in several districts.

It showed that "tribal Christians were the main target of violence" and "indicated that the reasons behind the growing insecurity among the Christian community were 'communalism', apathy and corruption in the state administration, especially the police, ICC said.

CREATION OF CONFLICTS

The term “communalism” in India refers to deliberate creation of conflicts between religious minorities - mainly Christians and Muslims - and the majority Hindu community by over-asserting their differences, rituals and cultural practices. Hindu fundamentalists use the Hindutva, an ideology of Hindu nationalism, to spread communalism, ICC added in a statement to BosNewsLife.

However the survey also revealed that a majority of Christians (96.7 percent) "had full faith in the judiciary, and that they did not think Madhya Pradesh would ever become like Gujarat state," where about 2,000 Muslims were killed. In addition, most Christians (98.3 percent) said they wanted to respond to crime against them in a non-violent way, ICC quoted the survey as saying.

Out of the 4,105 Christians surveyed, 2,685 were men and 1,420 were women in the age group of 18 to 50. Violence against Christians in Madya Pradesh are not isolated incidents, human rights groups claim.

MORE ATTACKS

In one of the latest incidents in India's religiously volatile state of Orissa, Hindu villagers reportedly attacked Pastor Rabindra Mallick home January 15, as he returned home from a nearby market. The next morning, a group of about 15 villagers armed with sticks stormed the home of his older brother, Pastor Kulamani Mallick, and assaulted him and his family, Christian news agency Compass Direct said.

Pastor Mallick and two other family members apparently required hospital treatment for minor injuries. The assailants set fire to their house, and seven adjacent houses of Christians also were burned and destroyed. Shortly thereafter a village woman accused the pastor and two of his relatives of forced conversion.

They were reportedly released on bail this week, while five Hindu villagers charged with the assault and setting fire to the pastor’s house were still in custody. (ICC can be reached via website: http://www.persecution.org. With reports from India).

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