Senior leaders from the All India Christian Council (aicc) toured rural churches in Dakshina Kannada district, Karnataka on October 4-5, 2008 and found intimidation of Christians by police and fundamentalist Hindu groups. In Orissa, anti-Christian attacks continue, largely unnoticed, outside Kandhamal district. Over 10000 civil society and religious communities came out in a protest rally in Bangalore today in protest against anti-Christian violence led by Brinda Karat of CPI (M), Medha Patkar of Narmada Bachao Andolon and other prominent leaders.
Dr. John Dayal, aicc Secretary General, said, “Outside the metropolitan areas of Bangalore and Mangalore, innocent Christians live in fear since coordinated attacks on churches on September 14th. Police are ordering village churches not to hold Sunday worship services and even requiring them to submit ‘licenses’ to hold prayers.”
In Orissa, aicc state leaders said many anti-Christian attacks occurred outside of Kandhamal district in the last few weeks. Most media coverage hasn’t acknowledged widespread attacks after the initial wave on Aug. 25-26, 2008. For example, on Oct. 5, 2008, the Sikuli Church of North India under the R. Madanpur police station, Kalahandi district was heavily damaged in an attack at approximately 8 p.m. There were also reliable reports of 40 Christian homes burned nearby at 10:30 p.m. Police often register these types of incidents as burglary or “land disputes”
Rev. Madhu Chandra, aicc Regional Secretary, said, “The rule of law is inoperative and anarchy is prevalent in many districts of Orissa and Karnataka. Especially in Orissa, the state government says the problems are simply a socio-economic dispute between two groups. But the attacks in districts outside Kandhamal and religious slogans used by assailants tell us this is not the truth.”
The motive of attack on Christians is seen as to gain the political mileage of Hindutva political parities. “The blood bath of innocent Christians must not be utilized for the political mileage,” say, Rev. Chandra while addressing to a interview by the Voice of India and News 24 TV channel.
In addition to Kalahandi district, Christian houses in at least eight other districts were destroyed in recent days including: Boudh, 250; Bargarh, 50; Koraput “undivided”, 50 (this includes four districts resulting from bifurcation: Nabarangapur, Malkangiri, Rayagada, and Jajpur); Gajapati, 313. One Christian was seriously injured in Bargarh and one killed and three injured in Gajapati. Eight churches, mostly Baptist, were burned in Gajapati in September and over 1,000 people remain in two government-run relief camps. Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, Orissa’s largest cities, saw violence in September; there was at least one church attacked in each city and a mission in Bhubaneswar was ransacked and literature burned.