Four cases of Christian persecution a week in India in 2007’


NEW DELHI, INDIA (ANS) -- At least four cases of Christian persecution are being reported every week of this year from across India, according to statistics compiled from dependable sources by Dr. John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council, and others actively monitoring the situation. Dayal, a renowned journalist who has been in senior positions with several Indian media houses in senior positions, is presently the president of the All India Catholic Union. By November 16, the number of atrocities against Christians this year, 190, has crossed what was the entire year's record in 2006 and 2005, indicating a steady increase in the targeting of Christians, says a story carried on The report quoted Dr. Dayal as saying, "The victims include members of almost every Church denomination in the country, Catholics, Protestants, and Evangelicals. They include Catholic Fathers, catholic Nuns, Priests, independent Pastors, wives of Pastors, believers, Seminarians and Bible School students, and ordinary folks. Violence includes attempted murder, armed assault, sexual molestation, illegal confinement and grievous injury." "These figures do not include cases that have not come to the notice of the All India Christian Council, the All India Catholic Union, the GCIC, the Evangelical Fellowship of India and the Christian Legal Association." According to Dr. Dayal, who is also a member of the National Integration Council, Government of India, "other cases which have come to my notice, but where the Church groups involved or the pastors have chosen not to file cases with the police, or have sought anonymity for fear of violence against the families of innocent people, particularly in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa." The Indian Catholic story said that the "figure of does not include widespread incidents" which Dayal does not want to include as "violence" but which certainly are "indications of religious intolerance, bigotry, social discrimination and ostracisation -- as in many parts of the states in the lower Himalayan ranges [Himachal, Uttarakhand, part of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim], Orissa and other tribal areas," Dayal said. Dr. Dayal in a report that these cases include refusal to give share of the community profits in forest produced to those who have converted to Christianity, denial of civic and social benefits to Christians, particularly Dalits, in many parts of the country, denial of official permission to hold community meetings, official and informal ban on Bible sale and tract distribution in places where religious tracts and books of other majority faiths are freely distributed. "This list also does not include anti Christian Hate crimes. Nor does it include violence in which Christians are the victim together with others, such as the police actions in Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and other places, the displacement of Tribals because of government action, the suicides of farmers in Andhra and Maharashtra because of crop failures and the debt trap," said Dr. Dayal. "However," adds Dayal, "the Christian community acknowledges a debt of gratitude to the secular people of India, their brothers and sisters. Those in authority, including leaders of political parties, perhaps are not as concerned with a micro community that hardly figures on their political radar because it does not matter electorally in most states, barring perhaps Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the micro states of Goa, Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram where it impacts on a handful of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats. "In fact, leaders of the Bharatiya Janata party and its mother organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, continue an almost daily harangue against the Church while militant frontal organizations such as the Bajrang Dal, the Akhil Bharatiya Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram and others peak the hate campaign at a feverish pitch." The Evangelical Fellowship of India observed a National Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday, November 18, 2007.

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