50,000 Christians in India Flee Anti-Christian Clashes

October 16, 2008 at 12:50 am Leave a comment

indian-christians-protest-human-rights.jpgIndian church leaders said Tuesday that Christians killed in recent
clashes were “sacrificial lambs” targeted by hard-line Hindus seeking
an advantage in upcoming national elections.

The All India Christian Council said the toll
after nearly two months of sporadic violence has reached 59 dead and
50,000 displaced. Officials in the eastern state of Orissa, site of the
worst violence, say 34 people have been killed.

recent violence began after Hindu activists blamed Christians for the
slaying of a Hindu leader killed in Orissa on Aug. 23. Retaliatory
attacks left scores dead, dozens of churches destroyed and thousands of
people homeless, despite the government’s claim that Maoists killed the
Hindu leader.

“A frenzied and well-armed band of political
criminals has threatened our community as perhaps it has never been in
its 2,000 year-old history in India,” said John Dayal,
secretary-general of the All India Christian Council.

is a long history of tension between the religious groups in Orissa
because Hindu leaders accuse Christian missionaries of forcing
low-caste Hindus to convert, charges denied by Christian leaders.

Leaders from the council on Tuesday said the
violence was led by hard-line Hindu parties preparing for national
elections, expected early next year, by whipping up religious fervor.

sole motive is to gain political advantage in coming national
elections,” said Dayal. “We have been made sacrificial lambs.”

Christian leaders blamed the violence on radical Hindu groups,
including the Bajrang Dal and the World Hindu Council, organizations
loosely affiliated with the hard-line Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP
rules Orissa and Karnataka, the two states that have seen
anti-Christian violence, and is looking to challenge the ruling
Congress Party for power in New Delhi.

2.5 percent of India’s 1.1 billion people are Christians, while more
than 80 percent are Hindu. India is officially a secular nation.

The Christian leaders called Tuesday for a federal probe into the violence.

Source: MSNBC


Entry filed under: Christian, World. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

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