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India polls spur anti-Christian attacks
Financial Times ^ | August 31 2008 17:30 | By Joe Leahy in Kolkata

Posted on 08/31/2008 6:09:39 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin

India is bracing itself for a rise in social unrest ahead of general elections next year after some of the worst violence against Christians in nine years left at least 13 dead over the past week.

The violence in Orissa state, which prompted protests from the Pope, follows two months of clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the disputed territory of Jammu-Kashmir, and mass protests over farmers’ land rights near Kolkata, in West Bengal.

“Today it is Kandhamal in Orissa, tomorrow, who knows, it may be our town, our church, our convent or our own life,” said the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. “The religious fundamentalists in this country have already set their agenda to disturb peace, integrity [and] sovereignty of the nation.”

India’s centre-left ruling coalition, led by the Congress party, must hold an election before May and in the meantime is preparing to contest a number of important state polls.

The main opposition grouping, led by the right-wing Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, is hopeful of victory in the general elections after it swept Congress from power in several important states including Karnataka, home of Bangalore, in polls earlier this year.

But elections in India are often accompanied by unrest as politicians and activists tap deep-rooted religious divisions or divisive social issues to drum up support.

In the Kandhamal district of Orissa, police ordered a curfew after mobs torched an orphanage and more than a dozen churches after the murder of a Hindu holyman who had campaigned against alleged forced conversions by Christian missionaries.

The region, which has a large population of indigenous tribespeople, was the scene of anti-Christian violence in 1999, when Hindu fundamentalists burned alive an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his two sons, in their car.

Local media have quoted police as saying the holyman, Swami Lakhmananda Saraswati, was murdered by Naxalite (Maoist) insurgents.

Human Rights Watch said the violence was instigated by the Hindu extremist organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the ideological arm of the BJP.

“The fact that Christians have been made the scapegoats and victims of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad backlash is deplorable and calls for urgent intervention,” it said.

In Kashmir, at least 38 people have been killed and more than 1,000 wounded in violence between Hindus in Jammu and Muslims in Kashmir valley, the two main regions in the state. Hindus on Sunday called off their two-month dispute after the government allowed them temporary use of land at the centre of the conflict, but a curfew was still in place to curb protests in some parts of the state.

The dispute erupted in June when the state government angered Muslims by promising to give state land to a trust that runs Amarnath, a Hindu shrine.

At Singur, near Kolkata, on Sunday night a crowd of tens of thousands of protesters gathered to hear speeches against plans by India’s Tata group to build a plant there.

State opposition groups have seized on the issue to champion the right of the farmers to get a better deal from Tata for their land.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: christianpersecution; india

1 posted on 08/31/2008 6:09:39 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
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To: DeaconBenjamin

How fast is Christianity growing in India? There really is not much difference between this and the persecution that Christians sufferred in ancient Rome. In the end, the Christians won out.

2 posted on 08/31/2008 6:13:53 PM PDT by Brilliant
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To: DeaconBenjamin

Christians killed gets little to no response but a muslim merely being profiled? It’s headline news!! My prayers for those Christians and missionaries in the front lines amidst obvious pagan murderers.

3 posted on 08/31/2008 6:17:14 PM PDT by Karliner ("Things are more like they are now than they ever were before. DDE)
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To: F15Eagle

Idol-worshippers. That’s what they’re fighting against.

Worshippers of Kali, and Hanuman (on Obama’s desk), and Krishna, and the ten-armed Durga.

To name just a few.

5 posted on 08/31/2008 6:35:47 PM PDT by elcid1970 (My cartridges are dipped in pig grease)
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To: elcid1970

Hanuman commands a million monkey army which if true is pretty cool. How many saints control an army that big - simian or otherwise?

6 posted on 08/31/2008 6:45:43 PM PDT by Dave Elias
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To: F15Eagle

look I hear what you say, but a million monkies! Man that’d be a tough ask for any deity to battle, but given they’re magic monkies too. Besides hanuman is pretty close to Vishnu and Rama I’m not saying god couldn’t lick-em but it’d be some tough fight.

9 posted on 09/01/2008 1:42:31 AM PDT by Dave Elias
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