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Posts Tagged ‘Church’

150-year-old cathedral set afire in Madhya Pradesh

Posted by jytmkh on September 19, 2008

A 150-year-old church in Madhya Pradesh’s Jabalpur town was set on fire by two unidentified men, police said on Friday.

The altar and statues inside the 150-year-old St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral  in the cantonment area of Jabalpur, about 300 km from here, were burnt in the fire on Thursday night. The church was closed at the time.

Parish priests told police that the two entered by breaking the glass panes of the door and set fire to the cathedral altar. The altar, statues of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the carpet were damaged.

However, fire fighters were alerted and the blaze was soon doused.

“The sisters staying in the building adjoining the boundary wall of the cathedral spotted the duo fleeing the spot on a motorcycle but could not see their faces since it was dark,” a police official said.

“A complaint has been lodged against unidentified people in the cantonment police station and investigation is underway,” Jabalpur District Collector Hari Ranjan Rao told IANS on phone.

This is the third case of assault on Christian missionaries in the state in the past few weeks. On Monday, a watchman of Carmel Convent School in Ujjain was beaten up. Before  that, on Aug 31, an 86-year-old church in Ratlam was set on fire. (Hindustan Times)


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Attacks on Churches and Christians in India – Violence in Mangalore

Posted by jytmkh on September 15, 2008


Section 144 has just been clamped on Mangalore city.

Police resorted to lathi charge and throwing tear gas grenades at peaceful protesters where a number of nuns and women were injured and had to be taken to hospital.

What the hell is wrong with our country and its people? (I would not normally use such strong language in print, but it doesn’t even begin to demonstrate how strongly I feel)

Today morning between 9am and 10am, Bajrang Dal activists attacked and destroyed 4 churches in Mangalore City.

Why? Because New Life members distributed pamphlets which said “Do not Worship Hindu Gods”
While I admit that this could be an incendiary statement, does this justify attacking people and churches who do not even agree with the methods used by the New Life preachers?
Does this justify attacking members of a church, who have not had anything to do with conversions or preaching and just listen?

Let’s look at the issues here:
1. The Bajrang Dal resorts to violence because of something that is printed that they do not agree with.
2. When the Bajrang Dal says that conversions are illegal, (and all the other things they do with tis as their cause) aren’t they infact enforcing that “you cannot worship any God other than a Hindu God”
3. The New Life Church is a relative newcomer, known to be more hardline than most other churches which distance themselves from them. Shouldn’t the Bajrang Dal have at least distinguished that?
4. Even if they did not agree with what was printed by the New Life church in India, couldn’t they try having a dialog with them first, before resorting to violence.
Looks like the hooligans behind these attacks are only interested in breaking bones and getting their adrenaline pumping rather than really trying to sort out any kinds of problems or misunderstandings.

The ruffians broke all the religious statues in the Sisters of Poor Clare’s Adoration Monastery. They threw the Holy Eucharist on the ground and desecrated it.

Is this OK, just because it is being done against Catholics/Christians in India who have historically been as non-violent as the Jains and buddhists (other minorities) in India?

Concerned members of the churches gathered in the church grounds during and after evening mass in a peaceful way to seek assurance and guidance from the priests and other religious. Wasn’t this a peaceful gahtering compared to mobs rampaging and torching buses because of some mud smeared on Meenatai’s statue? or The countrywide riots following a desecration of an Ambedkar statue in Kanpur? The second incident was also of smeared mud. Both the desecrations happened on public roads. This does not make it right, but compare this to religious statues being broken on private property, the Holy Eucharist (which Christians believe is the body of Christ once it is blessed) thrown on the ground. Do not Christians have a right to congregate to discuss their fears following such incidents.

Remember the Christians were gathering in peace outside their place of worship (since the insides of the church were full) not going out and torching buses or hurting other innocent people.

To add fuel to the fire, the police arrived. No issues with their arriving where crowds had gathered, but they started lathi charging the gathered people and seriously injured nuns and women among the crowd and threw tear bombs inside the church where Sunday evening mass was being held. A religious ceremony, a peaceful ceremony, held everyday inside these churches.

Was this responsible on the part of the police to use force and violence against unarmed, peaceful members of the public?

People present at the scene said that the police themselves were pelting stones at the crowd and caning them, hurting both people and damaging property in the vicinity.

The news channels started to broadcast about this and then completely hushed up. I turned on my India feed of NDTV which promised for 15 minutes to show an update and news about Mangalore city and suddenly it stopped showing those banners without showing any news about what had happened. Looks like someone high in the political chain, got to them and yanked the news off the air.

Now take 2-3 other incidents into perspective.
On 29th August over 40,000 Christian Educational Institutions across India stayed closed to register a peaceful protest against the continuing violence against Christians in Orissa which has now spread to 13 out of 30 districts.

On the same day, the government of Karnataka announced its decision to take action against Christian schools in the state for closing without prior permission.

This same government has yet to take action against the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishat and RSS workers, who had launched violent protests when the JD (S) failed to hand over the state reins to the BJP last year.

Is it any surprise that both Karnataka and Orissa currently have the BJP in power?

The VHP held violent protests in Madhya Pradesh and other places asking why the Christians had killed Saraswati? (by shutting educational institutions for a day) What about all the occasions when the BJP/VHP/Bajrang Dal/Shiv Sena and other Hindu organisations force schools, colleges and business to shut shutter for their own bundhs which destroy all normalcy in the cities?

Why are these double standards in play? Why are Christians being given the short end of the stick? Religious Christian institutions have a large role to play in education, medicine, caring for the orphans, abandoned, old and dying in India. Christians have been one of the most tolerant minorities in India (imagine what would have happened by now if by chance the Bajrang Dal hooligans had desecrated a mosque this morning) who have contributed immensely to the growth of the country. Why this treatment? Do they deserve it?

Do they deserve a government that is apathetic to their religious sensibilities being trampled upon?

Christians have always believed in being peace loving, patient and tolerant. Will the Christian youth of today continue to be as tolerant when they see the atrocities being committed against their brethren in Orissa and the North East?

Why are these atrocities against Christians being downplayed in the media? (Try googling for the attack against Christians in India and see how many Indian media links pop up) Why aren’t they being given coverage? Is it because the powers-that-be know that they aren’t doing a thing to control, controllable situations and the miscreants in their party? Is it because the powers-that-be know that the Christians haven’t ever retaliated with violence? How long will the Christians community be able to react with tolerance and peace? (2 values that a lot of Indians in the news seem to have completely forgotten about)

Final note of irony: Union minister of labour and employment Oscar Fernandes (a Christian) was in Mangalore today to inaugurate the opening of a (Hindu) temple.

And so we debate endlessly in the media about terrorism coming in from across the border while we burn our own own citizens in their homes and places of worship.

Posted in Karnataka | Tagged: , , , , | 17 Comments »

Church shocked as Christians forced to become Hindus

Posted by jytmkh on September 2, 2008

NEW DLEHI (ICNS): The continuing anti-Christian violence in Orissa took a vicious form with fanatic Hindus forcing Christians to denounce their religion, become Hindus and destroy their own churches.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) said the Church “is shocked” to learn that the Christians are “forced to become Hindus and attack their own Churches in which they have been worshiping so long.”

The bishops in a statement said latest reports from Bhubaneshwar say mobs continue to attack Churches and ransack the Christian institutions at will.

Such violence happened despite the deployment of riot police at several places in Kandhamal with specific instructions “to shoot at sight,” the statement said.

On Monday, September 1, it is reported that 10 prayer halls were destroyed in Kundra village of Jayapur District. In Tikabali Block, 5 villages were attacked and property looted. Similarly, a Church, a convent and two hostels were destroyed in Mondasore under Raikia Block, the statement said.

The Church is “extremely distressed to note that despite the assurances” form chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to end violence the atrocities continue.

“We find that there has not been much improvement in the riot hit areas of Kandhamal. Even though security forces have been deployed in Kandhamal, the fundamentalists continue to attack Christians and their institutions freely,” their statement said.

The bishops appealed to “act firmly against those who are taking law into their hands and safeguard Christians, their houses and institutions.”

“We also request the State Administration to be vigilant at the forced re-conversion issue since it is a gross violation of their Constitutional right to live in the country without fear,” said the bishops’ statement.

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More prayer houses attacked in Orissa

Posted by jytmkh on September 1, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: Violence was reported from more areas in Koraput district in southern Orissa on Sunday, even as the situation was limping back to normality in the riot-hit Kandhamal district.

Eight prayer houses were damaged in Kundra area of Koraput during the day, police said.

Violence erupted in the district following a clash between two groups in Jeypore town on Saturday and five churches were damaged. Curfew was clamped and it is still in force.

In Kandhamal, two groups of women victims clashed at a relief camp at Baliguda over distribution of relief material. More than 9,000 people have taken shelter in the seven relief camps opened in different areas of Kandhamal to help families affected by the violence triggered by the killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda. The authorities were finding it difficult cope with the influx of people into the camps.

On Saturday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik faced an angry group of protesters when he visited a relief camp at Tikabali. The families affected by the riots raised slogans against Mr. Patnaik and asked him to go back.

Asked whether his government would hand over the case pertaining to the killing of the swami to the Central Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Patnaik replied in the negative. He expressed the hope that the State police would be able to arrest the culprits.

On the other hand, shortage of security personnel was also making it difficult for the administration to restore peace in the district. Curfew continues to remain in force in eight towns of the district. (The Hindu)

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