Skip to comments.US missionary attacked in India
Posted on 01/15/2003 9:13:02 AM PST by JimRic54
An American missionary has been attacked in southern India by right-wing Hindus allegedly belonging to a group close to the ruling party. The gang attacked Cooper and others with swords, sticks and iron bars
Joseph W Cooper, 68, who is from Pennsylvania, received knife wounds in the assault in Kerala state in which five others were also hurt.
Police say they have arrested five activists of the hardline Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
But local RSS leaders deny the movement had anything to do with the attack.
The RSS is a group with close ties to the Hindu Nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party that heads the federal coalition government.
Christian groups have condemned the attack, which took place on the outskirts of the state capital, Trivandrum, on Monday night.
Eyewitnesses say Mr Cooper, a visiting preacher, was surrounded by an armed gang of 10 people as he was returning from a prayer meeting.
"We were approaching our car when the unexpected attack took place," Pastor Benson Sam told the BBC.
A police spokesman said Mr Cooper had sustained a deep cut in his right palm.
Christians in India feel under threat "The gang attacked Cooper and others with swords, sticks and iron bars.
"As other church members rushed to the scene the attackers fled," he was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
A local pastor, his wife and two children and one other person were also injured.
The victims were all taken to a local hospital but eyewitnesses said this was delayed by an hour until the police arrived on the scene.
Mr Cooper was attending a Protestant convention in the area organised by a local church.
About one third of the population of Kerala is Christian and attacks of this kind are rare.
But local people told the BBC that in recent months some right-wing Hindu organisations had been protesting against religious minorities.
In recent years, there has been an increase in violence against Christians in India, who make up about 2% of the population.
In 1999, an Australian missionary working in India and his two little sons were burned to death by a mob in the eastern state of Orissa.
That attack was blamed on hardline Hindu groups who accuse the missionaries of forcibly proselytising low-caste Hindus and tribal groups - a charge the Christian groups deny.
Last month, the southern state of Tamil Nadu passed a controversial new law banning religious conversion through coercion or material inducement.
Many Christian groups in the state protested against the move, which they argued was unconstitutional.
India is a secular state which permits freedom to practice any religion.
The activities of the missionary group that was attacked by local people at the colony near Kilimanoor in Thiruvananthapuram are suspicious . A thorough investigation is needed regarding this.
The following points may be noted 1) The missionary team which entered the village at Kilimanoor on Monday was headed by one Pastor Benson Sam and his wife. Mr. Benson and his wife are the second and third accused in the case of abduction and sexual molestation of a minor girl at the Bible College at Keraladityapuram near Sreekaryam (Thiruvananthapuram). In her deposition before the police the girl had said that she was sexually abused by Benson and at many times presented to foreign missionaries who visited the center. The girl was finally rescued on September 22nd 2002 by local people of Keraladityapuram.
2) The American Bishop Joseph Cooper who was injured in the Kilimanoor incident is said to have entered the country on a tourist visa . A tourist visa does not permit missionary work. Furthermore, a foreigner is legally obliged to obtain prior permission from the Central government before engaging in missionary activities. In this context ,the work of this missionary calls for scrutiny.
3) Benson and team were opposed by a section of the villagers the last time they came here. This is because the miracle cure ceremony which they conducted involved smearing of a substance on the body of people including women. This team also used to abuse the Hindu gods and goddesses as part of their prayer.
The Thiruvananthapuram RSS Vibhag Karyavah has clarified that the organization has no involvement in the attack on the Protestant group at Kilimanoor .There is an effort on to blame the Sangh and affiliated organizations for this incident. Innocent Sangh workers are being taken into custody in the name of questioning. The RSS strongly protests against the motivated campaign that is being mounted against it even before the real culprits have been identified and arrested .It is to be noted that the Chief minister Mr A K Anthony himself has said yesterday (15 Jan) that it is not clear whether the RSS was involved in this incident or not.
I do find the letter to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette to be curious. I looked up the RSS and found their mission statements, which included:
The truth is one but can have plural manifestations. This plurality need not be in conflict with one another; it can be cooperative and complementary. To understand, appreciate and realize the unity in a tremendous vortex of diversities, should be the humanity's goal of life
I guess Christianity isnt one of those manifestations. The writer also described India as politically democratic and socially and religiously free. Yet a tour through various human rights reports reveals ongoing violence of one Indian group against another, and the caste system, outlawed in the 50s, appears to be alive and well (unless you are a Dalit - untouchable - and then you are not doing so well).
I have read that the Hindus have re-conversion camps to un-convert Christians back to Hindu. Yet only 2% of the population is Christian, and Christianity has been there for 2000+ years. Why such a threat? I have also read that much of the violence against Christians is really committed by Muslims disguised as Hindus. And everyone knows how well those two groups get along (see: Kashmir). So this whole affair is, uh, generating bad Karma for everyone. Good thing Christians have grace so we dont have to work out Karma. I just pray that Joe comes home soon.
Who pray is Joe Cooper to give hope to anyone, when he himself is scheduled to burn in the hellfire that Islam promises him, because he is not Muslim.
I checked his schedule. He's free for this life and the next.
Who are you ? God /Son of God/Holy Spirit ??? How do you know such things. Bye for now, will meet you in Allah's Hell.
Is that a State Department position? What GS rating is he?