Christians flee, leaders deplore religious violence in India

August 29, 2008

Car burns in church compound in Kandhamal district of Orissa, 26 August 2008/Stringer IndiaRaphael Cheenath, the Roman Catholic archbishop in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, calls the religious violence there “ethnic cleansing of Christians.” Pope Benedict, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Italian government have all called for an end to the killings in the eastern state. The death toll is now 13 and possibly up to 10,000 people — mostly Christians — have sought shelter in makeshift refugee camps. More than a dozen churches have been burned. Catholic schools across India closed in protest on Friday. Local officials say the week-long violence may be waning, but this remains to be seen.

The criticism from outside the state hinted the critics believed authorities in the state had not done enough to halt the violence. No names are named, but anyone who knows Indian politics can connect the dots. The violence by Hindu mobs broke out after a Hindu leader in Orissa, Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, was killed. The state is run by a coalition which includes the main Hindu nationalist opposition party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), so suspicions immediately fall on a party that has also been already accused of turning a blind eye to the deaths of about 2,000 Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. The BJP’s Lal Krishna Advani, head of the opposition in the Indian parliament, has said Maoists were suspected of the killings.

Fire at Christian orphanage in Bargah, Orissa state, 26 August 2008/Reuters TVAs our correspondent Jatindra Dash in the Orissa state capital Bhubaneswar wrote: Most of India’s billion-plus citizens are Hindu and about 2.5 percent are Christians. In the Kandhamal area, more than 20 percent of the 650,000 people are mainly tribal inhabitants who converted to Christianity. Religious violence has troubled the tribal regions of Orissa for years, with Hindus and Christians fighting over conversions. While Hindu groups accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith, the Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape a complex Hindu caste system.

See also our factbox on religious violence in eastern India.


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Once again, the common people suffer the consequences of the lies and delusions of their religious ‘authorities’.

And, once again, the officials of the media have NO interest whatsoever in *resolving* the religious conflict, but merely prosecuting the economic-political interests of the religious ‘authorities’ themselves.

Jesus’ criticism of those Jewish religious ‘authorities’ who ‘search high and low for a convert; and when they finally find one, they make him or her ten times more a child of HELL than they are themselves’, for example, is *never* mentioned.

It is a tragedy when ANY Christians or Hindus (or Muslims or Buddhists) suffer, are tortured, or are killed in a religious war.

But the media will NOT let the Truth about these conflicts to be made known: that, deep down, they are *nothing* more than conflicts of ECONOMIC interests between those who are EXPERTS in LYING about God.

The Vatican’s conflict with “Christian fundamentalism”, “Hindu or Islamic fundamentalism” and “secularism” is, fundamentally and of course, a conflict over who is going to get the most believers and the most believers’ MONEY.

Michael Cecil m/

Posted by Michael Cecil | Report as abusive

Michael, where is your evidence for this conspiracy theory par excellence? Perhaps the reality is that such violence is best explained in terms of a complex amalgam of local and international issues.

Posted by Yakoub | Report as abusive

To all Indians who are reading this , I have this to say…
Visit ISKCON,Sai Baba ashram,Mata Amritananda ashram,Ravi Shankar ashram and various famous Hindu priests places, you would find so many foreigners and Indians who were Christians and have converted to Hinduism.They have liked the people and the message being taught over there and converted to Hinduism. Similarly if a Hindu likes the Christian message he is free to convert…..If we want , then even we can say that forced conversion of Christians is taking place in the various ashrams in India, but I dont want to make this an issue. This is their personal choice.I do not believe in spreading hatred since Jesus taught to live in peace with everyone and to forgive ones enemies and have love for GOD…..
Hindus are actually peace loving people. My best friends are Hindus and we live happily as neighbours. The problem is with the extremist parties.
No one knows who killed the Swami Laxmanand. But who has given the right to kill innocent people. Catch the culprit and hang him. Why kill innocent people.
When missionary Graham Staines and his sons were burned alive in 1999 by Hindus in Orissa , were any Hindus killed in retaliation. Not a single Hindu was attacked. Only protests were held and the culprit was caught. This is how it should be.
People are writing articles on the net and have pasted links to various websites, to justify attacks on Christians. To counter that even I can mention that in any popular search engine website you type “attacks on Christians in India” and you will get hundreds of websites showing attacks on Christian institutions and murders of Christians.
Get proof and punish the guilty person. Spreading hatred and killing is not the solution.

Posted by Sunil | Report as abusive

To all Hindus

I would like to ask one question to all the hindus who are reading

When u blame christian missionary that they offer education, foreign aid and convert people i would boldy say its untrue.

People accept Christinity because they know and have experienced that Jesus Christ is the living God

I would like to ask all you people where are you when poor children and orphans are on streets begging, widows are lured into wrong things, when people with leprosy were thrown out of village and even their own house. why dont u take a cause for your fellow brothers and sisters.

You hate your own people and so when somebody else is giving them support you dont like it. Even a small child goes to one who loves him – not to one who ill treats him

when a small child understands this – what is wrong if hindu people are converting to christianity beacuse they get love, caring from christian people.

STOP killing innocent people INSTEAD try to be human being have compassion for your fellow brother and accept them open arm in your own community – IF U DARE TO

Posted by Urmila | Report as abusive

Let me state at the outset that I don’t belong to any religion. Urmila, while I acknowledge the fact that christian missionaries have done some sterling work, I would like to say that there is no religion that is supreme. Like how there are dodgy priests, there are fundamentalist hindus. Minorities are a relative concept… If christians are a minority in India, the hindus are a minority when it comes to the world population. How can any religion claim that their religion is superior or theirs is the only god? God is often an experience. Isn’t humanity more important? I believe that all religions will reinvent itself and evolve into something different. I promise there will come a day when christianity, hinduism, Islam will all be extinct. Often it is the politics of culture and power equations that decide the fate of value systems, which is essentially what religion is. People will die and all religions will meet their end along the way but life will go on. Religion belongs to documented history, which will be rewritten and rewritten…

Posted by Kaushik | Report as abusive

Why do Indians living abroad foment such political parties i.e. as Gujrati’s funding and aiding BJP and associated juanta i.e. VHP/Bajrangi Dal,who esp is instrumental in all those voilent acts. They secretly sit together and applaud the killing of innocent people in not-so-recent Gujrat roits and now are enjoying the attack on Churches and basks in a glory that India is rising … killing of few innocent people does not mean india is shinning, rather those damned terrorists are doing exactly like that….these people deserve to be thrown out and deported to India or treated as terrorists

Posted by Ramesh | Report as abusive