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Orissa Christians made an offer they canít refuse (Convert or Lose Everything)
Hindustan Times ^ | 10/10/2008

Posted on 10/09/2008 8:18:58 PM PDT by nickcarraway

Days after he fled his home, there was something that stood between Hari Chand Digal and his home, his paddy field, two cows and 15 goats.

He had to give up his faith if he wanted his home.

So one morning 15 days ago, Digal, 42, finally gave in and lowered his head. A barber shaved off his hair, holy water was sprinkled on him, and in a chatter of mantras, he was made a Hindu again.

He could now have his life back, village leaders said.

Mobs of hundreds of Hindu chauvinists have ravaged villages in Orissa’s hilly central district of Kandhamal since the end of August, in cascading attacks that have killed at least 35 people.

It is the worst violence India has witnessed against the Christian community, with the state and central governments seemingly looking the other way.

Now, even though there are no reports of fresh communal violence, there is no respite for the estimated 14,000 people living in relief camps.

Many of them want to return to their villages. They say they have been asked to embrace Hinduism, or else they would be either killed or treated as pariahs.

Digal, a Christian villager, was among those who lost their homes on August 26 in his Minia village, 250 kilometres east of Bhubaneswar, the state capital. It was gutted by arsonists.

He and his family had to take shelter in the nearby jungles. He stayed in a relief camp for days, like the other displaced people huddled in shelters in Kandhamal district, Bhubhaneshwar and Cuttack.

Then, he and 70 other families were offered a deal: he could return to his village and have his property back if he became a Hindu.

Caught in the thick of a battle over conversions to Christianity, Orissa is the epicentre of anti-Christian violence in India. It is the state where Christian missionary Graham Staines was burned alive in 1999 with his two minor children, killings that shook India but failed to bring them under control.

"A few days ago I decided to go back to my village. When I went there, I was told by the panchayat leaders and my Hindu friends that if I wanted to continue living here, I will have to become a Hindu,” Digal whispered at his village home, sitting wearing a loincloth.

“I agreed as I was fed up with living at a relief camp," he said. His father was an animist — a worshipper of animals, plants and elements of nature — who converted to Chistianity.

Around him, his home still bore the scars of arson — He has since repaired the roof but the thatched hut still has burnt walls and charred remains of utensils and husk strewn around.

His hands trembled when he picked up the burnt Bible lying near the door. "This was the only religious book I had when I was a Christian. Now even that is no more. I may have turned a Hindu but my heart will never accept this religion," he said.

Next door, Digal’s neighbour Prashant Digal, 28, also a Christian, sports a red tilak on his forehead to show he is now a Hindu. Prashant was Christian until 15 days ago.

"This is our land, how can we let it go?” he angrily asked.

“I do not have anything else to fall back on. If converting to a different religion ensures safety for my family and me, then let is be so."

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: christian; christianpersecution; christians; hindu; hinduextremist; hindus; hindutva; india; orissa; persecution
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1 posted on 10/09/2008 8:18:59 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway
"all religions believe the same things"

yeah, right.

2 posted on 10/09/2008 8:25:18 PM PDT by Alex Murphy (What can I say? It's a gift. And I didn't get a receipt, so I can't exchange it.)
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To: nickcarraway

Christians are being martyred, tortured, and harassed throughout the world.

Voice of the Martyrs have one of the best records for a Christian Charity. They spend very little on administration. Most of your donations go directly to our brothers and sisters in need. If you feel led to divert some of your tithes and offerings...

3 posted on 10/09/2008 8:26:29 PM PDT by CitizenUSA (Voting proudly for GOVERNOR Palin for VP!)
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To: nickcarraway





4 posted on 10/09/2008 8:26:55 PM PDT by Quix (POL LDRS GLOBALIST QUOTES: #76
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To: Alex Murphy

If that were true, the current conflict between Islam and the rest of the world’s religions would not be happening.

5 posted on 10/09/2008 8:28:04 PM PDT by doc1019 (Obama IS running against Palin)
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To: nickcarraway
It seems all over India (not just the eastern areas anymore), these kinds of assaults against Christians are becoming more common, more virulent, bolder, and in larger numbers. It's heartbreaking to see. I read this article from the UK this morning, Holy war strikes India, calling it what it has devolved into, a war against Christians. Another site, has requested Catholics join together worldwide to pray the Rosary for India's Christians, (sorry, no link, I can't get the story to load.)
6 posted on 10/09/2008 8:32:06 PM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: fortunecookie

How sad.

7 posted on 10/09/2008 8:37:33 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: nickcarraway
"I may have turned a Hindu but my heart will never accept this religion," he said.

Reminds me of Naaman...

2 Kings 5:15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that [there is] no God in all the earth, but in Israel: .... 2Ki 5:18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, [that] when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. 2Ki 5:19 And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.

8 posted on 10/09/2008 8:44:21 PM PDT by DannyTN (`)
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To: nickcarraway
Indian Christians remain traumatised by violence

by David Griffiths

HORROR — the sort that dulls the senses or excites over-stimulation — looms large in Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa state, now infamous for the anti-Christian violence that has ravaged its interior since 24 August (News, 29 August).

A fraction of those fleeing the violence have made their way to the state capital, and the gravity of what they suffered becomes apparent im­medi­ately on meeting them (News, 19 September).

At one of the relief camps I visited, without invitation or introductions, person after person stood up and re­counted their stories. The first set the tone, as she wept quietly: “They came and looted everything.”

Another told us breathlessly of a pastor of 25 years, who had refused to renounce his faith when a mob came to his house. They first cut off his lips, then cut him into pieces, then set his house on fire. His elderly mother, who was deaf and mute, was thrown on the fire when she tried to rescue him.

Another man described witnessing the death of his paralysed brother in a burning house. Still another told of a mob marching into his village, demanding that his father come and face them, “if he had ever drunk [his] mother’s milk”. They called for him because his own father had set up numerous churches in the area.

Still others told of fleeing for days from place to place through the jungle, trying to evade the rampaging mobs.

The toll of suffering, in so far as it can be measured, is horrifying. The Roman Catholic authorities say more than 50 have been killed, but it is difficult to measure with certainty because many have seemingly been burnt or buried alive.

At least 50,000 are thought to have fled. A spokesman for the Roman Catholic archdiocese told me that reports of house-burnings have abated only because there are now few houses left to burn.

Attempts have been made to interpret this violence in terms of Hindu-Christian clashes, ethnic ten­sions, and come-uppance for the economically dominant. Issues of ethnicity and economics have cer­tainly played their part in stoking the violence, but the truth is that the violence has been perpetrated by mobs espousing an extremist Hindu nationalist agenda and shouting anti-Christian slogans. The Christian vic­tims come from different ethnic com­mu­nities, and in­clude both wealthy and poor.

Academic studies of the processes by which India’s powerful extremist Hindu nationalists mobilise grass­roots support among tribal people have suggested that the most success­ful tactics include attaching local concerns to a national communal agenda, and portraying Muslims or Christians as the “threatening other”.

This groundwork had been going on for decades in the Kandhamal district of Orissa, so when an influen­tial local Hindu leader was assassin­ated on 23 August, mobs were mobilised on the roads, baying for the blood of Christians within hours.

Hindus committed to pluralism have railed against the violence. A Hindu fact-finding team visited the area in September, and strongly criticised the “hooligans” of Hindu nationalist organisations acting with the connivance of the administra­tion. Ordinary Hindus heroically braved the wrath of mobs to help the Christians where they could. Yet the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, which covers Orissa, the Most Revd Raphael Cheenath, reflected sombrely on the “extermination of the Church”.

Kerala talks. In Kerala, south India, nine Christian leaders from various denominations joined 14 Hindu leaders for dialogue about the viol­ence on Wednesday of last week. Attacks on Christians have been reported in the region, as well as in Orissa, and in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Madya Pradesh. The dele­gates included representatives from the World Hindu Council, which has been accused of playing a part in the violence.

In a joint statement, the religious leaders said: “Violence is not part of any religion. Acts that pave the way for religious hatred . . . have to be stopped.”

9 posted on 10/09/2008 8:50:55 PM PDT by HaplessToad
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To: nickcarraway

I’d rather die- How can you deny the God who created you?

“all relgions lead to the same thing”-no then it wouldn’t matter if we ‘recieve Christ’-AND IT DOES(Very much)!

10 posted on 10/09/2008 8:52:32 PM PDT by JSDude1
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To: nickcarraway

That’s why you never give up your guns. I’ll bet a few AK’s would have made their hindu neighbors see reason really quick.

11 posted on 10/09/2008 9:04:47 PM PDT by elmer fudd (Fukoku kyohei)
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To: nickcarraway


What is a Christian?

Are they talking about Catholics?

12 posted on 10/09/2008 9:25:24 PM PDT by Fichori (ironic: adj. 1 Characterized by or constituting irony. 2 Obamy getting beat up by a girl.)
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To: nickcarraway

More Hindu terrorism.

13 posted on 10/09/2008 9:47:40 PM PDT by TBP
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To: nickcarraway

“all religions believe the same things”

Not quite, but there is a core of commonality at the heart of all of them.

14 posted on 10/09/2008 9:49:42 PM PDT by TBP
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To: fortunecookie
It seems all over India (not just the eastern areas anymore), these kinds of assaults against Christians are becoming more common, more virulent, bolder, and in larger numbers.

They are, and it's not just Christians, either. Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, and others are getting similar treatment. In some states, it's even illegal to convert to any religion except Hinduism.

India is effectively a theocracy with teh veneer of a democracy.

15 posted on 10/09/2008 9:51:16 PM PDT by TBP
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To: Fichori
Are they talking about Catholics?

In many cases, yes, but Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, it doesn't matter to these militant, theocratic Hindu terrorists.

Teh Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), a militant, pro-Fascist Hindu organization, published a booklet on how to implicte Christians (and otehr religious minorities) in false criminal cases.

16 posted on 10/09/2008 9:53:48 PM PDT by TBP
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To: nickcarraway

Stupid title. Numerous Christians have refused such ‘offers’ down through the centuries, and honored by the Church and in Heaven for their refusal—as martyrs if they are killed, as confessors if they are merely ill treated.

17 posted on 10/09/2008 9:56:18 PM PDT by The_Reader_David (For real change stop electing lawyers: Fighter-Pilot/Hockey-Mom '08.)
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Yep. all this religious persecution is happening while the country is lead by a Sikh Prime Minister with a Christian women as the leader of the Congress party (the party that is in ruling presently) and a Hindu woman as the President (rubber-stamp head, PM has the real power). Which other country has this kind of diversity?

800 million Hindus, 180 million Muslims, 20 million Christians, 5-10 million Bhuddists etc. coexisted in a democracy whose economy is growing at 7-8% for past decade and yet because of some deplorable incidents in a backward state in India, all Indians esp. 800 million Hindus are to be blamed! Nice logic!

Btw, most of those folks are not Christians. They are tribals. The Evangelical do this drama of conversion to get more attention and money from the west. Go ask those tribals. They dont care about any religion. What they want is better livelihood. Poverty leads man to any depths. Evangelicals target these vulnerable folks! And like morons, some these Hindus groups try to re-convert them back as though the poor folks care for religion! All they are looking for is some help from govt. to survive! Read this:

What made Hindus angry in Karnataka

François Gautier

First Published : 06 Oct 2008 02:12:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 06 Oct 2008 07:40:54 AM IST

I WAS born in a Catholic family. My uncle was a priest, a wonderful man of warmth and compassion and I spent most my early years in Catholic boarding schools. When I was young I wanted to become a missionary and to ‘convert’ pagans in Asia. What I was taught by priests was that Hindus worship false gods and they needed to be brought back to the True Word by Jesus Christ.

Then of course, I came to India and discovered that actually Hindus, far from being the heathens, as had been portrayed in Europe, not only believed God’s diversity, the wonderful concept of avatar, but had given refuge to all persecuted minorities of the world, whether the Syrian Christians, the Parsis, the Jews (India is the only country in the world where Jews were not persecuted), the Armenians, or today the Tibetans.

I am also aghast at the one-sided coverage by the Indian media of the Christian- Hindu problem: blasts after blasts have killed hundreds of innocent Hindus in Varanasi, Delhi, Mumbai train blasts, Jaipur, etc. Yet, neither Manmohan Singh nor Sonia Gandhi have pronounced once the word ‘Islamic terrorism.’ But when furious Hindus, tired of being made fun of, of witnessing their brothers and sisters converted by financials traps, of seeing a 84-year-old swami and his Mataji brutally murdered, of reading blasphemy about their Gods, vent their anger against churches, many of them makeshifts, the Indian government goes after the soft target which the Hindus are. The same thing applies to the United States: they never warned Muslim organisations in India about the killing of Hindus, but when dollars are used to buy new converts and it angers the majority community of India,Washington has the arrogance to issue a warning, and Manmohan Singh does not have the pride to tell the US to mind its own business.

Neither the Indian press nor the western correspondents bothered to write about what made Hindus angry in Karnataka: Newlife, one important westernfunded missionary centre (, began making conversions in and around Mangalore by accosting poor people in market areas, or in bus stands, befriending them and then taking them to churches to introduce them to the father.

Upon introduction they were paid Rs 2,500 per person and then taken to the Velankanni shrine, in Tamil Nadu, where they would get another Rs. 3,000.

When they finally converted to Christianity by changing the name, they got an incentive of Rs 10,000 onwards.

Newlife would then give them instructions to abandon wearing tilak on forehead, not to visit and offer prayers at the Hindu temples, replacing the photos and idols of Hindu gods and goddesses with a Cross, etc.

But what really angered local Hindus was when Newlife went one step further and published a book in Kannada — Satya Darshini — which was widely distributed by its missionaries. Here below is the translation of some of the most abusive passages: “Urvashi — the daughter of Lord Vishnu — is a prostitute.

Vashistha is the son of this prostitute.

He in turn married his own Mother. Such a degraded person is the Guru of the Hindu God Rama. (page 48).

When Krishna himself is wallowing in darkness of hell, how can he enlighten others? Since Krishna himself is a shady character, there is a need for us to liberate his misled followers (page 50). It was Brahma himself who kidnapped Sita.

“Since Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva were themselves victims of lust, it is a sin to consider them as Gods. (page 39).

When the Trinity of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva) are consumed by lust and anger, how can they liberate others? The projection of them as Gods is nothing but a joke. (page 39). God, please liberate the sinful people of India who are worshipping False Gods. (Page 39).” When blasphemy and much worse is brought against the most sacred Hindu Gods, Hindus are supposed to take it meekly as sheep and let themselves be converted to a foreign religion! There are more than 4,000 foreign Christian missionaries involved in conversion activities across different states.

In Tripura, there were no Christians at the time of independence. There are 1,20,000 today, a 90 per cent increase since 1991. The figures are even more striking in Arunachal Pradesh, where there were only 1,710 Christians in 1961, but 1.2 million today, as well as 780 churches! In Andhra Pradesh, churches are coming up every day in far-flung villages and there was even an attempt to set up one near Tirupati.

Christians throughout the ages have strived on the concept of persecution and as a brought up Catholic, I remember feeling bad about all those martyred saints of Christianity. Christians in India like to say that they are only two per cent and can do no harm. But it is a sham: in the Tamil Nadu coastal belt from Chennai to Kanyakumari, there must be now 10 per cent Christians posttsunami and the same may be true in other parts of south India.

My heart goes out to Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa who took a courageous stand against unethical Christian conversions, but is now under pressure from the Centre.

The BJP, having learnt from bitter experience that the Congress has no qualm in invoking President’s rule under fallacious pretexts in states which are ruled by non-Congress governments is in a quandary: it must show some action against militant Hindu groups while remaining true to itself.

This is why Yeddyurappa took some action against Hindu groups while saying that his government will not tolerate forcible conversions and will take stringent action against missionaries involved in conversions.

And ultimately, the blame must fall on Hindus: they are 800 million in India, the overwhelming majority; they have the brains, they have the money and they have the power. But either their intellectual and political class sides with the minorities, out of fear, inferiority complex imbedded by the British or just sheer crass political opportunism, or the bigger mass is indifferent inert, selfish, un-civic conscious. Every Hindu is the inheritor of the only surviving spiritual knowledge which at the moment is under a concerted attack by Christian missionaries, Americanisation, Marxism and Islamic fundamentalism.

18 posted on 10/09/2008 10:10:42 PM PDT by An_Indian
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To: nickcarraway


19 posted on 10/09/2008 10:21:09 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: Alex Murphy

“all religions believe the same things”

Obviously not. Forced conversion is terrorism. Just a thought.

20 posted on 10/10/2008 7:20:46 AM PDT by tob2 (No retreat!)
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