Mental shift

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Anti-Christian attacks systematic: Indian govt

Posted by jytmkh on September 27, 2008

NEW DELHI (AFP) — The Indian government said Thursday that attacks on Christians in the country’s east were “very systematic” and prodded the local administration to stamp out the ongoing religious violence.

It coincided with large-scale Christian rallies elsewhere in the country to protest attacks on churches, prayer halls and Catholic-run schools in the eastern state of Orissa.

The federal home ministry, which sent a fact-finding team to Orissa, said “lawlessness” prevailed in the coastal state, where 20 people have died so far in recent anti-Christian attacks.

“The attacks are made in a very systematic manner like blocking the roads by felling trees so that police cannot go to the spot,” said M.L. Kumawat, a top ministry bureaucrat.

“The state government needs to take very firm action against those who are instigating the violence,” Kumawat told reporters.

An Indian government spokesman said New Delhi ordered Orissa to stamp out violence.

“Strict instructions (must be) issued to the all concerned to ensure the prevailing situation of apparent lawlessness is brought under control,” the spokesman said.

The Orissa violence, triggered by the murder last month of a Hindu priest and four followers, forced thousands of people, mostly Christians, to flee their homes from revenge attacks. Many are still living in state-run camps.

Similar violence spread to the southern state of Karnataka, which is ruled by a Hindu nationalist party.

Hindu-Christian violence occurs periodically in India, where 2.3 percent of the country’s population of more than 1.1 billion are Christians.

Hardline Hindus accuse missionaries of bribing poor tribals and low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity by offering free education and healthcare.  (AFP)

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