Archive for the 'Orissa' Category

High Court Orders Police to Probe Betticola Church for the Brutal Killing of Hindu Swamy Laxmanananda Saraswati

HC for re-probe in Laxmanananda Saraswati murder

The Orissa High Court on Thursday directed the police to further investigate the murder of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati on the basis of new material evidences and immediately submit a new chargesheet in the trial court.

Disposing a writ petition by Saraswati’s disciple Brahmachari Madhava Chaitanya and another intervening petition by VHP leader Durga Prasad Kar, Justice M M Das asked the police to re-investigate the case on the evidence provided by Kar and others.

The petitioners had alleged that the police did not take into account the resolution passed by Betticola church in G Udaygiri block of Kandhamal two-three days before the murder.

The petitioners had alleged that the resolution by Betticola church had talked of eliminating Saraswati. They also alleged that a blood-stained sharp weapon found near the pond of Saraswati’s ashram was not taken into account.

Chaitanya had in 2009 filed a case in HC, alleging that the investigation was flawed as a TI parade of the accused was not conducted.

Saraswati, 82, was celebrating Janmasthami on August 23, 2008, when masked assailants, armed with AK-47 sprayed him with bullets.

The attackers had then hacked his right leg and rained blows on his torso. Three of his associates — Kishore baba, 45, Amritananda baba, 62, Mata Bhaktimayee, 40 — and Puranjan Ganthi, 28, brother of one of the girl inmates of the tribal residential school, fell to the bullets. The killings led to a communal riot in the district.

Christians paid Maoists to brutally kill 80 year Swami Laxmanananda

Western readers may not be able to glean from the message who this unmentioned community is which was involved in the brutal killing of the 80 Swami and four others.

Indians who are used to the pseudo secularism of mainstream English media, can read between the lines and figure out which community conspired and hired the maoists to carry out the heinous deed so as to remove the Swami who was an obstacle to their coversion activities and destroy Hindu religion.

‘Maoists hired to kill Laxmanananda’

Bhubaneswar, PTI:
In a major breakthrough the Orissa police on Thursday claimed that the mastermind behind VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati’s killing had been identified as a group had hired the Maoists to execute the crime.

“Maoists were given money to train certain youths of a particular community to eliminate Saraswati,” Inspector General (IG) of Police, crime branch, Arun Ray told PTI asserting the mastermind of the killings had been identified.

Stating the mastermind had fled Orissa, the IG said, “We will trace them soon.”

The plan to eliminate Saraswati was made immediately after the December 2007 communal violence in Kandhamal, he added.

Elaborating the probe by the crime branch, he said investigations also showed that a group had collected money from some villages in Kandhamal which was given to the Maoist group to train their youths for the purpose. At least 60 youths were given arms training by Maoists, the IG said dwelling on the inputs from three arrested persons.

Ray said members of a particular community were unhappy with Saraswati and held him responsible for the riots which took place during Christmas in 2007.

They requested a Maoist group to assist them in killing Saraswati, he said.

Confirming that six Telugu-speaking persons fired at Saraswati and others, the crime branch investigation revealed that the trained group were guarding the ashram at Jalespeta in Kandhamal during the incident.

Refusing to divulge identity and religion of the mastermind behind the killing which sparked communal violence in Kandhamal, IG said Maoists only executed the crime.

While the motive behind Saraswati’s killing was clear, the sleuths gathered evidences against people who planned the crime not realising that it would trigger such a largescale violence, he said.

Dangerous Christian demand for Kandhamal to be split: A prelude to separating from India and genocide of Hindu minority people and religion

The demand for partition of the district shows how great a danger nefarious missionaries pose. They start out providing with social services, and talk about the love and justice of Jeus Christ,  induce unethical conversions through hook and crook  and end up with call for seperation with attendant violence, terrorism, division of society forcible conversion of non christians or if that is not possible genocide as historically witnessed in the Americas and other parts of the world.  Converted Nagaland in India with their slogan Nagalim for Christ is already demand a separate nation.

Christian missionary activity have to be recognized for what it is — extremely toxic, hateful, divisive, vile and harmful,  for the Indian state and derogatory and destructive  of local culture, norms and people.  It will spell the death of peace, harmony, stability that once characterised the region before the advent of violent genocide pro Christians.
Split Kandhamal district: Christians
From S T Beuria, DH News Service, Tikabali (Kandhamal):

The recent chain of incidents in Kandhamal has forced local Christians to put forward a demand for division of the tribal dominated district and creation of two districts out of it – one for them and another for the Hindus.

They have already submitted a proposal in this regard to the state government. The authorities, however, are yet to react on the demand.

“We want a separate district for us so that we can live happily and peacefully. We have already submitted a memorandum in this regard to the governor during his recent visit to Kandhamal”, said Lal Mohan Digal, an inmate of the Tikabali relief camp set up by the Kandhamal district administration for Christian riot victims.

Several other Christian villagers sheltered in the Tikabali relief camp have also expressed similar sentiments and said they will prefer a separate district as they realise that it may not be possible for them to go back to their respective villages with Hindu co-villagers. They added that hardline Hindu groups have threatened them not to return to their homes as they (the Hindus) want a “Christian-free” Kandhamal.

“The government is not doing anything to settle the matter. Therefore, the best option will be to divide Kandhamal and create two separate districts of Hindus and Christians”, said Julian Digal, another inmate of Tikabali camp.

No normalcy
The Christian villagers in the relief camps rejected the Orissa government’s claim that normalcy was returning fast to the riot-hit villages and many victims had already gone back to their respective homes.

According to Kandhamal district administration, earlier there were thirty thousand riot victims in different relief camps.

The number has now reduced to a little over ten thousand.

The camp inmates admitted that many riot victims had left the relief shelters. “However, they have not returned to their homes. They have fled to more safer places like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. Many of them have also fled to other states”, said Subash Digal, who was working as a pastor in a Church.

Meanwhile, the Orissa government has rejected the Kui Samaj co-ordination committee’s demand to withdraw the CRPF from Kandhamal.

Another demand of the Kui Samaj, a powerful organisation of the tribals in the troubled district, to transfer the recently appointed Chief administrator for Kandhamal, senior IAS officer Madhusudan Padhi, has also been rejected by the state government.

Church Backs Terrorism in the North-East

There is clear evidence which confirms that some international Christian organisations are backing terrorism and separatist movements in the north-east. These church backed organisations are providing funds, arms and ammunitions with the aim of creating a separate Christian state.


The National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) was founded in December 1989. Since its inception the NLFT has been engaged in an armed struggle to carve out a separate Christian nation – Tripura. The backing of the Baptist church right from the beginning has enabled this organisation to spread its base. Due to its terrorist activities, the organisation was banned by the government in 1997 but it continued its operations from across the Bangladesh border.

The priests of the Baptist church supply arms and ammunitions to these terrorist rebels. Nagmanlal Halam, the secretary of the Noapara Baptist Church in Tripura was arrested by CRPF in April 2000 on charges of aiding insurgents and possessing a large quantity of explosives including 60 gelatin sticks, 5kg of potassium, 2kg of sulphur and other ingredients for making powerful bombs. Two junior members of the same church, who had been arrested earlier tipped the police off about the explosives which were meant for terrorist organizations like the NLFT. Mr. Halam confessed to buying and supplying explosives to the NLFT. Another church official, Jatna Koloi, who was also arrested, admitted that he received training in guerrilla warfare at an NLFT base.

It is now apparent that the pattern of forced conversions at gunpoint are irrefutably linked to the Baptist Church in Tripura. The NLFT is accused of forcing Tripura’s indigenous tribes to become Christians and give up Hindu forms of worship in areas under their control. For decades Tripura’s indigenous tribal population has been dragged out of their homes and forced to convert to Christianity under threat of violence. Whenever any of the tribals organize Hindu festivals or rituals, the terrorist groups attack to desecrate and kill the participants. There have been incidents of issuing a ban on the Hindu festivals of Durga Puja and Saraswati Puja. The NLFT manifesto says that they want to expand what they describe as the kingdom of God and Christ in Tripura. The hill tribe ‘Jamatiya’ worship their traditional god ‘Gadiya’, who is supposed to be an incarnation of Lord Shiva, in the month of March. The terrorists have issued an order that the ‘Gadiya’ be prayed on the Christmas day instead.

The Baptist Church in Tripura was set up by missionaries from New Zealand 60
years ago. It won only a few thousand converts until 1980 when a mass scale ethnic riot was engineered by the Church in which systematic ethnic cleansing of Hindu and Buddhist tribals was initiated. Thousands of women were raped and kidnapped and forced to convert to Christianity. The terrorists receive military aid from extremist Christian groups in Australia and New Zealand. They also have ongoing exchanges with Islamic terrorist and ISI who push in arms from the Bangladeshi border.

When the RSS and other Hindu organizations decided to help the Hindus under attack in Tripura by aiding them in reconversion, hundreds of the RSS volunteers were attacked, threatened and blackmailed. Several of them were murdered and a number of them were kidnapped and held hostage by the Christian terrorists. In August 2000, Swami Shantikali Maharaj, the famous Hindu sage known for his social services was killed by the terrorists. In December 2000, Lavkumar Jamatiya, the priest of the ‘Jamatiya’ tribe was killed, two Hindu temples and one Buddhist temple were destroyed and order was issued to end all non-Christian methods of praying. In the year 2001, there were 826 terrorist attacks in Tripura in which 405 persons were killed and 481 cases of kidnapping by the rebels.


The National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), a separatist organisation has two main factions. Both the factions are headed by Christians and get financial support from World Council of Churches, a missionary organisation. China provides arms and ammunitions to both the factions.

The NSCN has its offices in New York, Geneva and Hague which display boards with legend ‘Peoples Republic of Nagaland’. It has twice raised its demand for an independent nation in the United Nations. The NSCN has its own government which collects money from the local people. One third of the salaries of the government servants is taken away as Nagaland Tax before disbursement. Most of the banks in Nagaland have closed down because of the huge sums extracted by this outfit. The letterheads and stamps of this unofficial government read ‘Nagaland for Christ’.

There is evidence of NSCN having ties with the ISI. The NSCN general secretary in an interview with the English daily ‘Hindu’ accepted that they were trying to create pressure on the Indian army in the north-east so that there was less pressure from the army in Kashmir.


The proselytising activities of the Christian missionaries during the 150 years of patronage from the British rule have resulted in the conversion of two-thirds of the people of the state to Christianity. After independence in 1947, many of the locals started reverting to their original tribal religion and lifestyle. The natives of the Khasi hills started to once again get associated with their roots. They formed an organisation called ‘Sengkhasi’. Shri Rejoy Singh Khongsha, an important official of this organisation, at first got threats and later was abducted by North-east Red Army, a separatist and terrorist outfit known to have direct links with the church. The church has been threatening the leaders of ‘Sengkhasi’ for their connection with the Hindu organisations.

The Church in the north-east is also known to be associated with smuggling across the borders and circulation of fake currency notes. In December 1998, Bedang Tamjen, a Jemi-Naga missionary was arrested for making fake currency notes.

The most shocking fact is that the Indian media has not even mentioned these facts in their coverage. Whereas even unconfirmed rumors about any attack on Christians are immediately touted as “an assault on minorities”, not a word is spared to enlighten the Indian citizenry about the religious terrorism that is taking place in the north-east.

Hindus use Christian conversion strategies to reconvert villagers

Hindus use Christian conversion methods to reconvert villagers

Tit-for-tat religious conversions haunt India

Tit-for-tat religious conversions haunt India
Fri Oct 10, 2008
By Alistair Scrutton

CUTTACK (Reuters) – Siman Nayak’s shaved head is a stark reminder of a fate suffered by many Christians in eastern India in a battle over forced conversions to Hinduism that has left thousands of refugees fearing for their lives.

At least 35 people have been killed in a string of religious attacks in Orissa sparked by fears of forced conversion that have also sent more than 20,000 mainly poor, lower caste villagers into refugee camps and shelters.

“They told us if you do not become a Hindu we will hack you to death,” said Nayak as he sat in a shelter, in the Orissa town of Cuttack, where about 60 refugees live and sleep in one room.

His eyes wide with anger, Nayak said he was one of 13 villagers who were surrounded by Hindus waving axes and shouting for revenge after the death a few days before of a Hindu leader in an attack they blamed on Christians.

That killing, in Kandhamal district, sparked some of the worst anti-Christian riots in India in decades.

“They pulled out swords and axes, and called the village barbers,” said Nayak.

“They took us to a temple and told us to put our head before god. They fed us rice and ghee from temple offerings.”

Kandhamal district, a poor and remote tribal region in Orissa, has been the focus of controversy surrounding Christian missionaries since British colonial times.

The number of Christians rose by 66 percent from 1991 to 2001, the latest census data shows, and is now at more than 10 percent of the population, compared with 2 percent across India.

Controversy over conversion, which spans many parts of India, also reflects a tit-for-tat religious battle for hearts and minds. While Orissa’s victims were mostly Christians, fear of conversion is the same on both sides of the communal divide.

For years, many Hindus feared missionaries enticed the poor to Christianity with promises of schools, hospitals, and money.

“Conversion was easy because the government gave the poor and tribals minimal facilities. So the space was easily found,” said Prasanta Patnaik, a former newspaper editor in Orissa.

Patnaik said he knew of cases two decades ago when some villagers were given quinine tablets to entice them to Christian “miracles”. He says missionary work now is less aggressive.

But in the past few decades, tales like these sparked a backlash from a Hindu group which “converted” many people back to Hinduism through a purification ritual.

It was a vicious cycle that was to spark disaster.

“Kandhamal has become a point of experiment for both Christian and Hindu fundamentalists,” said Basanta Mallik, a reader of history at the Utkal University in Orissa.

That movement to Hindu conversion was led by the elderly Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati. It was his killing in August that has sparked nearly two months of communal riots.

Refugees said they fear they would never return home.

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar in Orissa earlier this month described forced conversions back to Hinduism as “systematic”.

Some blame Hindu political groups. Some blame lax police. Others blame underlying, decade-old ethnic and land conflicts.

But there is little doubt that deep-seated religious fears are at the root of the problem.

Some homes now have saffron flags on their roofs to distinguish them from Christians.

Some refugees know villagers have converted to Hinduism. In supposedly globalised India, others receive phone calls from old neighbours telling them to come back, but only as Hindus.

Lalita Digal, a 25-year-old refugee recounted how her house, clothes and rice stores were burnt to a cinder. Her in-laws were then surrounded by people with sticks and axes.

“My in-laws said let us say we are Hindus to make sure we are spared.” She said they were sat around a fire, given new clothes, cleanly shaved and had their hair cut. Then they were forced to recite mantras over a coconut.

A few miles away Ashok Sahu, a Hindu leader and a former inspector general of police, says such claims are exaggerated. The root of the problem, he says, is Christian conversion.

“Christians can go back provided there is no fresh conversion by the Church,” he said over a cup of tea in his upscale house.

“Peace and fraudulent conversion cannot coexist.”

(Additional reporting by Jatindra Dash and Matthias Williams in New Delhi)

American Christian evangelists fuel inter-religious conflict in India

Media messages from imported evangelists fuel inter-religious conflict in Indian state
By Kristine Greenaway, WACC

Toronto, 21 March (WACC) – Media ministries are aggravating tensions between Hindus and Christians in the Indian state of Orissa says an Indian communications specialist.

“Missionaries from South India are involved in ‘spiritual warfare’ using the media and Christian networks,” says Professor Pradip Thomas of the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Citing the exponential growth of Pentecostal and neo-Pentecostal churches in India over the past two decades, Thomas says the presence of external evangelists in the northern Indian state of Orissa has definitely contributed to the rise in militant anti-conversion efforts by Hindu organisations such as the Vishwas Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.

“A large number of the foot soldiers (missionaries)involved in conversion activities are from Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” says Thomas. “They are involved in church planting, setting up Bible schools, preaching, and using the media and Christian networks.”

Thomas notes in particular the evangelists’ use of the media for conversion of Hindus to Christianty which has accentuated tension between converts and non-converts within families and within communities and has led to conflict with militant Hindu organizations.

Professor Thomas will address communicators from around the world at the forth coming Congress 2008 to be held in Cape Town, South Africa, 6-10 October, 2008. This is WACC’s fourth global Congress on communication. The theme of the Congress is Communication is Peace: Building viable communities

In December 2007, a violent confrontation in Orissa’s Kandhamal district between Christians and members of a Hindu group opposed to conversion set off a wave of retaliation which resulted in extensive damage to Christian property.

Evangelizing organizations such as the Gospel for Asia, funded in large part by Christians in the United States States of Amercia, have focused their attention in the past 15 years on reaching people in the “10/40 Window” – the area north of the equator from 10 degrees to 40 degrees that runs between North Africa and China.This area – also referred to by pentecostal mission organizations as the “resistant belt” – has 97% of the world’s non-Christians. Northern India has more “unreached people” than any other part of the world.

“Today we have the great privilege of helping them them come to know Jesus,” K.P. Yohannan, the founder of the Gospel for Asia, writes on the organization’s website.

Media are key to the Indian-born, American-trained evangelist’s mission of conversion. Visitors to the Gospel for Asia website are urged to donate to film and radio ministries which are “reaching out to India’s 300 million Dalits (‘Untouchables’) through personal evangelism, radio programs, Gospel literature and much more.”

The website’s donations page highlights the impact of the organization’s film ministry through its Indian-made film of the life of Jesus, “Man of Mercy”, and claims that “already tens of thousands have given their lives to Christ as a result of watching this film.”Thousands more have converted because of radio programming produced in their own language, also according to information on the website which says, “People who are exposed to the Gospel through radio tend to be more receptive to native missionaries when they visit.”“Native missionaries” is the term used for missionaries born in India though not necessarily in the region where they work.

With the rise in religious intolerance fuelled by Hindu fundamentalists and Christian evangelists, there are growing fears that freedom of religion in India is under attack. In a statement released in December 2007, Human Rights Watch urged both Hindu and Christian leaders to work toward peaceful reconciliation, warning that India’s secular identity is at risk.

Christian dominant, Maoist group admits to killing Laxmanananda Saraswati

So now we have proof that Christians either as agents of the West or as extreme Marxists pose threat to Hindus in India. What implication does this hold for the Christian community in India?

‘Majority of Maoist supporters in Orissa are Christians’

Bhubaneswar (PTI): Admitting that Maoist groups in Orissa derive major support from minority communities, a prominent Maoist leader has said there was reportedly pressure from both Christians and Dalits to eliminate VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.

Sabyasachi Panda alias Sunil, who met a group of journalists at an undisclosed hideout on Saturday, said Saraswati was killed as he did not pay any heed to Maoist’s warning. The transcript of Panda’s meeting was made available to PTI on Sunday.

“We had asked Laxmanananda to desist from anti-Christian activities. He created a riot in December 2007 and subsequently targeted people indulging in cow slaughter,” he said, adding people of both the communities were opposed to the seer. Noting that most of the cadre members and supporters in Orissa belonged to Christian community, Panda said, “It is a fact that Christians are in majority in our organisation. Our supporters in Orissa’s Rayagada, Gajapati and Kandhamal also belonged to Christian community.”

The Maoist leader, however, pointed out that though Christians were major support base of the outfit in Orissa, the situation was not similar across the country. “We do not believe in any religion or are attached to any religious groups. We are not in favour of any religion,” he said claiming Laxamananda was working to revive Brahminism which was almost disappearing.

Violence against Christians due to aggressive conversions

Religious conversions, reservations and violence
The incidents of the violence against a section of Christians in Kandhmal and Mangalore are constantly increasing. Its reasons can be traced to aggressive religious conversions that are often based on pecuniary and social inducements..
CJ: R. Venkatesan Iyengar ,  5 days ago   Views:2160   Comments:7
THE RECENT attacks against a section of Christians and their places of worship in Kandhmal, Orissa and Mangalore, Karnataka by Bajrang Dal activists and their supporters are, no doubt, acts of intolerance and violence and deserve to be condemned in the severest terms. However, words like ‘persecution’ and ‘genocide’ used liberally by the foreign media to report these isolated incidents, shows that they can’t obviously, to rephrase an idiom, see the trees for the wood.

In other words, instead of focusing on the details – that is, as to what triggered the violence in both places – they have chosen to tar the whole thing as growing religious intolerance in India by opting for words like ‘persecution’ (harassing people on the basis of religion) and ‘genocide’ (systematic killing of a racial or religious group). To get down to the details, the violence in Kandhmal was sparked by the killing of 80-year-old Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, who had been leading a campaign against religious conversion of Hindu tribals to Christianity. And, what led to the attacks on churches and prayer halls in Mangalore was a controversial booklet titled ’Satyadarshini’ (The Truth), published by a local neo-convert to Christianity, which reportedly made offensive references to Hindu gods.

It is quite apparent that the cause behind the build-up to the violence in both places is ’religious conversion’, more precisely, conversion of Hindus, often socially and economically backward Hindus, to Christianity. That Christianity, like Islam, is a proselytising religion is a known fact. While Islam does not go about religious conversions aggressively, Christian missionaries belonging to different denominations have been actively encouraging and promoting conversion in India since the first Christian explorers landed on the Indian shores some six hundred years ago.

The words in The New Testament – And Jesus said to them, “Come you after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17) – are often seen as Christ’s exhortation to his followers to be “fishers of men”, ie, convert them to the new faith, Christianity. However, what Jesus Christ meant by those words was to spread his teaching among people, notably among the Jews of his time, and thus create a spiritual enlightenment causing the people to lead a new life, where the first commandment is love for God and the second and final commandment is love for one’s neighbour or fellow human being.

The earliest conversions to Christianity were conversions of convictions. Individuals, who got converted, found in Christ’s teachings a new way of looking at God – not the Jealous God of the Old Testament (“For thou shalt worship no other god: For the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”, Exodus 34:14), but a compassionate, all-forgiving heavenly father figure to humanity.

But as Christianity split into different and numerous denominations, conversion became a number game. As funds from Christian missions from rich countries started pouring into poor countries, the currency added an entirely new dimension to conversion. Conversions that should have remained in the realm of faith, soon degenerated into the realm of inducements.

While not all conversions are done through inducements, there is a grain of truth in the accusations that quite a few churches wouldn’t mind fishing in troubled waters. The ‘troubled’ waters they chose in Indian happened to be areas where socially and economically backward people lived.

That quite a few North-eastern states, which are dominated by tribal people, today have majority Christian populations is no coincidence. Even a cursory glance at the list of new Christian converts would show that the churches of different denominations focus on the vulnerable groups – poor, illiterates, chronic drunkards and socially deprived sections of the society. For, it is easy to sell a ‘dream’ to vulnerable people, who are on the lookout for a new lease of life, with whatever tag it comes.

However, the ‘dream’ of social equality remains a dream for many socially deprived sections of society, like Dalits, even after conversion. For example, a Dalit may convert to Christianity (a casteless religion) to escape social stigma, but the very fact that the ‘Dalit’ tag stays put even after conversion to a religion that ostensibly does not have or recognise caste divisions shows that conversions do not offer any great dignity in reality.

And, the problem starts when the converts demand the benefits of reservations in education and job, as it happened in Kandhmal, Orissa. Reservations in education and job are based on one’s caste which is peculiar to Hinduism. Naturally, when Hindus living in a particular area give up their religion for a casteless religion, they give up their caste and caste-based reservations as well. So, strictly speaking, they are not entitled to the benefits of reservation as well.

These then are the issues involved behind the violence. Do religions like Christianity have caste systems? No, they do not have caste divisions.
The Christian religious heads have to come clean on this and tell what type of Christianity they are following – a casteised, Hinduised Christianity? If yes, then that goes against everything that Jesus Christ stood for. For, to him a Samaritan was as good as a Jew.

Ideally, religious conversions should be based on one’s personal choice. Conversion to another faith should be encouraged only when one finds the principles of one religion to be better than that of the religion he/she currently belongs to. For example, Hollywood star Richard Gere’s conversion from Christianity to Buddhism was based on faith and not on pecuniary considerations.

While there is nothing wrong in conversions based on an individual’s inner convictions, conversions based on inducements and on false promises of social emancipation should be discouraged. As long as this is not done, what happened in Kandhmal and Mangalore is bound to recur.

Forcible conversions in Karnataka by Satanic Christian. VHP to bring Hindus home
VHP hopes to win back Mangalore’s neo-converts

Vicky Nanjappa in Mangalore

September 17, 2008 12:16 IST

It was an issue waiting to explode. Although there was talk about forcible conversions in Karnataka, things had not taken such a drastic turn until Mangalore burnt for three days in a row. Not only Mangalore, but incidents of Hindu activists desecrating churches and places of worship were reported from Udupi, Chickmagalur and also Davangere.

According to the Bajrang Dal, nearly 15,000 people have been forced to embrace Christianity in Mangalore alone in the past one year. They said they have been watching the situation and had even warned against forcible conversions, but no one paid heed to their advice.

While the Catholics have openly condemned forcible conversions, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has embarked upon a mission called as reconversion. The VHP claimed they have managed to re-convert at least 50,000 persons in Karnataka alone.

The VHP has set up a team that is actively involved in reconversion. This team is assigned the task of visiting the houses of persons who have converted to Christianity. They meet with these persons regularly and convince them to come back to their original faith.

Once these persons are convinced that they want to return to their original faith, then a priest from the Veerashaiva mutt visits the house and performs a ritual called as the ‘Ling Dharana’. A VHP leader told that they focus more on persons who have been converted recently through inducements. Those who have embraced the religion voluntarily many years back are not the target here.

It is said that conversions are highest in the north Karnataka regions of Bijapur where the Lambanis and other tribals have been converted. Apart from this, conversions are also rampant in Mangalore and the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, according to Hindu activists.

Facts on Christian-tribal clashes in Kandhamal, Orissa

Facts on Christian-tribal clashes in Kandhamal, Orissa
Sunday, 01.06.2008, 10:47pm (GMT-7)

Reports of communal vio-lence involving the con-verted Christians led by the missionaries on one hand and tribals on the other, in Kandhamal District of Orissa by the media since December 25 are vastly distorted and motivated which in public interest need be clarified lest the national image is tarnished before the general public and the international community.

The whole series of incidents started from unprovoked and preplanned attack on Vedanta Keshari Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati who was visiting his disciples in Darsingbadi village in Kandhmal District on December 24. Swamiji, 82, has been working relentlessly in the district since 1967 to protect the local population where more than 75 percent are below poverty line and are not literate. Swamiji has opened schools and hostels, hospitals and temples to protect mainly the tribals and the down-trodden from the clutches of missionaries who are operating with massive funds from foreign countries pumped into NGOs in disguised operations to convert the local tribals to Christianity.

Chief of such NGOs is ‘World Vision’ patronized by one Radhakanta Nayak, a local of Darsingbadi village from ‘Pana’ community who later got converted to Christianity. He happens to be an employee of the State Government promoted to the IAS and retired, and now a Member in the Rajya Sabha. His henchmen were the assailants who attacked Swamiji on December 24. Meanwhile, Nayak has incited Kui tribals among the Kandhs to agitate for getting his ‘Pana’ community, who are scheduled castes, relisted as scheduled tribe along with the Kui on the ground that the former also speak the Kui dialect.

Various reservation facilities to which scheduled tribes are entitled are not available to persons converted to Christianity. On hearing the assault news on Swamiji, the already agitated Kui community reacted and protested throughout the district against the ‘Pana’ community converted to Christianity. Interestingly, the Maoist (Naxalites) activists in the district are also mostly from among the recent converts to Christianity.

From the 47 Maoists arrested in connection with recent burning of villages inhabited by Hindus (Brahmanigaon, Jhinjiriguda, Katingia, and Godapur) as a counter to attacks by tribals on the churches, 20 guns have been recovered by the security forces. It is evident that the Maoists and the Church are hands in glove to spread fratricidal killings and clashes among the tribals which is evident also from incidents in Karbi-Anglong and North Cachar Hills districts in Assam. Conversions of poor tribal villagers are being conducted at gun point and by spreading terrorism.

While in active government service Radhakanta Nayak and John Nayak IPS (Retd.), both converted Christians, were instruments of the Church to proselytize the poor and illiterate ‘Pana’ and tribal communities. Under guise of NGOs thousands of dollars are pumped into the country for conversion of tribals in Jharkhand, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and the North-East.

Taking advantage of the poverty and lack of education, thousands of converted are being trained for separatist movements like NSCN in Nagaland and Maoist insurgency in the aforesaid states. This trend is more pronounced since 1970 which is evident from the census reports till 2001.

In Kandhamal District alone the Christian population has increased from 6 percent in 1970 to 27 percent in 2001, despite an Act enacted by Orissa Legislature in 1967 to prevent conversion. Swamiji has been fighting a lone battle by making the tribal district his home for last 40 years, and he is targeted by the Church. Earlier, there were two other lethal attacks on Swamiji in 1971 and 1995.

Since then the government has provided armed protection to Swamiji. In spite of that, he was attacked by armed assailants on December 24 in which he and his driver and armed security personnel were seriously injured and hospitalized in Cuttack Medical College Hospital.

Hence, the recent clashes manifest the various ramifications of the socio-economic, political and cultural tribal issues and the deep-rooted conspiracy by the Church to destabilize our society and our economy. Let the Nation awake and protect our tribal brethren and the national media stop distorting the facts.

Ashok Sahu, IPS (Retd.) Former Inspector General of Police

Trauma in ashram, schoolgirls witnessed Swami’s murder by Christian terrorists

Trauma in ashram, schoolgirls witnessed Swami’s murder
Ravik Bhattacharya, Indian Express
Posted online: Friday, August 29, 2008 at 0127 hrs

Jelaspota (Orissa), August 28: While violence rages across Kandhamal district, in the ashram, where its spark was lit when Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four others were killed on August 24, the adults are angry, the children traumatised.

Many of the 130 girls in the Kanya Ashram, a residential school on the campus, were eyewitnesses to the killing of the VHP leader and that incident has burnt memories they will never forget.

“First, we thought someone is bursting crackers and so we ran towards the main gate. Then we saw and heard people screaming and running. There was blood all over the place. Swamiji and Mataji and others were lying in blood. I shouted and ran away, we all started running here and there,” said 15-year old Anita Pradhan. She is from Raikia and has been in the ashram for three years.

According to Anita, it was around 7 in the evening, prayer time in the students’ quarters. Swamiji and Mataji Bhaktimoyee, head of the girls hostel, were inside Swamiji’s room adjacent to the main entrance.

According to eyewitnesses, 10 to 15 men climbed the wall and started firing indiscriminately. They first shot dead Amritanandji, a disciple of Swamiji. The attackers then entered a small room, home to Prabhati Ganta, the guardian of one of the students who was living there. They shot him, too. Later, Kishore Baba, a resident of Boudh, was shot just outside this room.

It was then that they broke open Saraswati’s room. “Swamiji ran into the toilet to save himself and shut the door. Mataji, who hid behind the door, was shot first. The miscreants then broke open the toilet door and sprayed bullets,” said an eyewitness.

Vijaylaxmi Mullick, a Class X student at the ashram, is too traumatised to narrate the incident. Her voice trembles and falters as she remembers. “I rushed towards the main gate along with others only to see some men running around and loud cracking noise. I heard the cries of Swamiji and others. I saw other Swamijis running here and there. I was scared and ran inside the hostel room with another girl. We sat huddled together. Until after a long time, one of the Swamijis came and escorted us out of the room.”

Kusum Pradhan, a Class 6 student, could not venture out of her hostel room after dark following the incident. “I too rushed out after hearing the noise. I saw bodies lying in blood. I touched Swamiji’s feet, who was lying in the bathroom. It was still warm but he did not move. Nor did Mataji, who lay inside the room,” was all Kusum could say.

The 130 girls, who now reside inside the hostels of the sprawling ashram, now cannot venture out. The ashram is guarded by CRPF and Orissa police constables. The girls’ relatives are unable to visit the ashram and take them home because of the violence and the ongoing curfew in the district.

Brahmachari Shankar Chaitanya, who is now in charge of the ashram and is always escorted by police constables and CRPF personnel, seethes with anger against both Christians and the state government. “We had written 30 times to the state government that Swamiji’s and our lives were at stake, that we were being threatened by Christian leaders. Before the incident, we got a letter threatening to kill Swamiji. We formally complained to the police and district authorities. They sent only four baton-wielding constables,” said Shankar Chaitanya. “Not a single minister visited us after the incident, not even of our BJP. The Collector comes sometimes. He gave us rice, dal and sugar for the children.”

Chaitanya alleged that it was Christians, not Maoists, who were responsible for the incident. “The Maoists can never do this. It is Christians who threaten us everyday and they did this,” he said. He alleged that the ashram has been kept out of the peace process. “No one called us for any meeting or to take part in any peace process. As long as are kept out, the violence will continue.”

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Why Christians hated Swami Lakshamananda: Because he was conversion king

Slain vhp man was conversion king
Debabrata Mohanty,Posted online: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bhubaneshwar, August 25: When 30-odd masked gunmen walked into an ashram in Kandhamal district on Saturday night, Orissa was busy celebrating Janmashtami, a prominent Hindu festival. In the Jaleshpata Kanyashram, a residential school for tribal girls, an ageing Swami Lakshamananda Saraswati was in the toilet when the gunmen barged in and riddled the 84-year-old man with bullets from automatic guns after breaking open the door. Four others, Arupananda, Chinmayananda, Mata Bhaktimayee, all disciples and inmates of the ashram, and an unsuspecting civilian, Sadanand Gachha, also could not escape the murderous assailants who vanished into the night.

As Orissa erupted over the killing of the ageing Swami, a member of the influential Kendriya Margdarshak Mandali of the VHP who has been working against conversion of tribals into Christianity, the ruling Biju Janata Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party Government, led by Naveen Patnaik, quickly labelled it as the handiwork of Maoists. Leaders cutting across party lines condemned the killing and the Chief Minister instituted an inquiry by a retired judge of the Orissa High Court.

Born in 1924 in Gurujang village of Talcher, a coal-mining town in Orissa, Lakshmanananda wanted to dedicate his life to the poor. He was married and had two sons. But one day, he renounced his family and left for the Himalayas to meditate. He returned in the 1960s and joined Vinoba Bhave in his Goraksha movement (anti-cow slaughter movement). During the Kumbh mela at Allahabad in 1966, he met Bhupen Bose, an RSS pracharak, who persuaded him to come to Orissa and work for the tribals. In the next few years he chose Chakapada village in Kandhamal as his place of work. Over the next decades he set up hostels for tribal girls, hospitals, and organised massive yagnas. He soon became a crucial part of the Sangh Parivar’s growth in Orissa through his preachings of the Vedas and for stopping tribals from converting to Christianity. In fact, he became an icon for the saffron brigade in the state.

In Kandhamal, where Lakshmanananda worked, more than 75 per cent people live below the poverty line and are illiterate. While Christians form 2 per cent of the state’s population, in Kandhamal, their population has grown from 75,597 in 1991 to 11,7950 in 2001. In Kandhamal, it was mostly Dalit “Panas” who converted to Christianity and were wooed back to the Hindu fold by Lakshmanananda. In terms of percentage, the Christian population in Kandhamal district was 6 per cent of the total populace in 1971 and 27 per cent in 2001. “Most of it is due to forced conversion,” alleged Ashok Sahu of Hindu Jagaran Sammukhya.

Apparently, it was his role as a Hindu preacher and his zealous campaign to stop conversions that brought Lakshmananda’s gory end. Earlier, there had been two attacks on Lakshmanananda in 1971 and 1995. His recent troubles started last year when his car was stoned on December 24 by Dalit Christians in the native village of the Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP, Radha Kanta Nayak, himself a Dalit Christian. The previous day some Christians in Brahmanigoan village of the district wanted to erect a gate in front of a Hindu place of worship. This led to a clash between the two communities. As the news of clash reached Lakshamananda, he set out for Brahmanigoan, where Dalit Christians attacked his car. This led to a violent clash between the Kondh tribals and Dalit Christians, resulting in three deaths and burning of several houses belonging to the Christian community.

Poverty and illiteracy have made Orissa a perfect hunting ground for religious zealots. These factors have inspired both Christian and Hindu groups from working overtime to make one of the country’s poorest regions into the biggest battleground for conversions and reconversions. In January 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines was burnt alive with his two sons by a murderous mob led by Dara Singh. Though the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act was passed by the state Government in 1967 to prohibit conversions by inducements, it could not come into effect till 1989 when the Government framed the Rules of the Act. It was only in 1993 that the Orissa police first booked 21 pastors in tribal dominated Nowrangpur district under the Act.

Though the VHP and others saffron bodies have scoffed at the state Government’s claims that Naxals were involved in the attack, intelligence officials said that the Naxals who were already present in the district wanted to cash in on the opportunity to mobilise their base. “Since the Christians were at the receiving end after the December clash, they could have taken the help of Naxals. But we are not sure,” said a senior police official. Ajai Sahni of the Institute of Conflict Management added: “Naxals may not have anything to gain but they could have realised that the reconversion drive of Lakshamananda was hitting at their base of mass mobilisation.”

Curiously, the state police did not act on the threats received by Lakshamananda. Last week, he received an anonymous letter that threatened to liquidate him. He lodged a formal complaint with the Tumudibandha police station, but both the district SP had ignored his misgivings.

Christian Conversion is the biggest threat to Hinduism: Successor to Late Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati

Excerpted from orissadairy

Meanwhile Sachidananda Saraswati, the successor of late Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati said that conversion is the biggest threat to Hinduism and as long as it will continues inter-religious tension will prevail in state.

Sachidananda apprehended that conversion will continue in full swing in Kandhamal district. Foreign funding agencies backing conversion will take place in a big way since Laxamanandaji’s assassination.

“Swamiji stood like rock against these unlawful conversion and open cow slaughter without any fear,” he told in an interview. “No one can fill up the void created by his death,” he said.

“I know that they might eliminate me but I am not afraid of them, as death comes once in life,” said Sachinanada quoting Laxmanananda.

Sachidananda Saraswati also regretted that there are talks and condemnation of the post murder violence but no central leader had so far condemned the killing of the religious and social leader.

Asked whether he is contemplating to shift his activities to Kandhamal to manage the ashrama, Sachidananda declined to go there at the moment because of security reasons.

Who killed Swami Lakshmanananda?
Krishnakumar P in Kandhamal

August 28, 2008 17:38 IST

Not the Maoists, everyone except some senior state government authorities maintain.

Even the top brass of the state police say it is improbable that Maoists were responsible for the murder of the Swami and four others at his remote ashram in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on Saturday night. A senior state police officer said the modus operandi of the murders do not provide substantial evidence that the Maoists may be involved.

Here are the facts of the murder after preliminary investigations:

On Saturday, the ashram was celebrating Janmashtami, when around dinner time, a group of 30-40 armed assailants surrounded the place.
Eyewitnesses said about four of the assailants carried AK-47s and many others had country made revolvers.
Two of the four home guards stationed for security had gone to eat and only two of them were guarding the premises.
The assailants tied down the two guards, and gagged them.
They then sought out the Swamiji within the premises and opened fire on him.
The recovered bullets show they were from an AK-47, the police said.
The assailants then warned the guards not to raise an alarm and fled the scene.

Within minutes of the reaching the crime scene, the district authorities made a statement saying it was suspected Maoists who killed the Swami.

“Isn’t it far fetched? District authorities blaming a particular outfit within minutes of arriving at a crime scene?” asked Ashok Sahu, a retired IPS officer, who specialises in left wing extremism.

There are two reasons given as to why the state could have taken the Maoist line. The first is obvious, observers say.

“In December 2007, the area witnesses some of the bloodiest violence Orissa has even seen after the Swami was attacked by Christians. The state might have wanted to avert a repeat of the communal clashes and therefore could have pinned the blame on the Maoists,” one of them said.

Sahu said there could be more to the government’s action than this.

“Elections are coming in a matter of months. The state has failed miserably in tackling the Maoist insurgency. A government that has been terrorised by the Maoists may in turn be trying to terrorise the people in the name of the Maoists” he said.

Why are so many people ready to debunk the government’s Maoist attack theory so readily? The main reason is modus operandi of the execution.

“The central committee authorises the killings and the outfit issues statements owning up to the murders they commit. So many days after the murder, there has been no statement from the Maoists,” a senior police officer said.

Sahu points out the following: “The five attackers who the locals caught and handed over to the police are not Maoists. They are from the region.

“Moreover, I see no reason why the Maoists will spare the policemen on duty. They would have killed them. Then, there are the leaflets that were thrown around the ashram in a very amateurish way. The Maoists are very organised. If somebody is carrying an AK-47 he must be at least a commander. And if there are four commanders to marshal the mob, there wouldn’t have been indiscriminate firing like what we saw. And last but not the least, I have never heard or seen Maoists wear masks and hoods.

“They see themselves as revolutionaries. They never care about whether they are seen or not. In fact, I would say, they would very much want to be seen,” Sahu said.

Then, the most important question? Did the Swami’s activities in the jungle in any way make him an enemy of the Maoists? “Chances are very less. He was working for the welfare of the tribal people and against forced conversions in the region. There is nothing that suggests the Maoists would see him as a class enemy,” a senior officer said.

A local outfit, the Hindu Jagran Manch said the Swami had mentioned to an office bearer that some Maoists had joined him in a program he had organsied for the tribal people. “One day last year, I was talking to the Swami on phone, and that time there was a lot of concern about his security. So, he said, don’t you people worry. The Maoists are not a threat to me. In fact some of them are here with me,” said Lakshmikanth Das, an officer bearer of the HJM.

But do these factors clearly rule out the role of the Maoists? It is tricky, say many experts who have been following left wing extremism. “The best way this could be phrased is: ‘We do not rule out the involvement of the Maoists’.” Sahu said.

There are many reasons why the experts are undecided. “After the December 2007 clashes, even the Hindu outfits agreed that the Maoists are working in tandem with militant Christian outfits,”

Sahu agreed: “A lot of Maoists were converts to Christianity and were involved in the December violence. But this attack does not look like their work,” Sahu said.

The Maoists have long claimed that most of Orissa falls under the ‘liberated zone’. Kandhamal district with its desnse forest cover is a haven for them. In fact, the police had claimed that the recent attack on a police party in Nayagarh, where the Maoists dealt a spectacular blow to the Orissa police, was planned and coordinated from Kandhamal.

If not the Maoists, who could have killed the Swami? The needle of suspicion swings towards the militant Christian outfits. “Let’s face it, said Sahu, “even in times when the Maoist-militant Christian nexus was a possibility, there were numerous attacks and attempts on the Swami’s life.”

“There is a high possibility that this is the handiwork of militant Christian outfits. How they got such sophisticated weapons is something for the government to figure out,” said Sahu.

“The government’s responsibility to bring those responsible to book increases when you take into account the fact that the Swami received an anonymous threat only a week before he was killed. The local SP did not even register a case after the Swami lodged a formal complaint. They have to answer a lot of questions or this issue will snowball into a bigger issue than the December violence,” Das concluded.

The onus now rests on the government, which has been boxed in from almost all sides.

It has been shown up with regards to tackling Maoists, with consecutive attacks. It’s inadequacy in putting a lid on communal tension in Kandhamal have been exposed by the on-going violence in the district. And with elections looming, how it tackles the current crisis will go a long way in deciding its political future.

In Orissa, new converts to Christianity quickly realize that religious change does not mean equality

Wed, Sep 3 2008. 12:16 AM IST

An internal battle wages in the Church

In Orissa, new converts quickly realize that religions change does not mean equality
Priyanka P. Narain

Mumbai: When Father William Premdas Chaudhary, the only Dalit priest in the Delhi archdiocese, began highlighting the plight of his community three years ago, his parish was taken away from him.

“I became a nuisance to the archbishop by raising issues faced by lower castes in churches. So they sidelined me,” he claims.
They converted to Christianity to escape the caste system of Hinduism, but even in the church, Dalits (or lower caste) remain at the bottom of the hierarchy, facing discrimination, unequal access to education, even the persistence of preface: “Dalit Christians”. But hope has stirred, ironically, out of attacks on their own. In an unprecedented move last week, the pope of the Roman Catholic Church issued a statement condemning the Orissa violence that killed dozens in the wake of the unsolved murder of a vocal anti-missionary Hindu leader. Since the Vatican has rarely addressed Indian Christians before, Dalit Christians hope the pope will now look deeper inside the practice of the religion in India—perhaps condemn caste, enforce equality, make conversions more honest and renew their flagging faith.

As churchgoers dwindle in Europe—according to pollster Gallup International, attendance declined from 60-65% in 1980 to 20% in 2000—countries such as India with its enormous potential for conversion have become more important for the Vatican. But an old hierarchical civilization such as India poses unique challenges, explains R.L. Francis, president of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement. Here, “the higher castes of Christianity, Syrians, Mangloreans and Goans from south India dominate churches in the country and treat Dalit converts like second-class citizens,” he says.

Some Dalit Christians also say that the violence in Orissa offers lessons for the church to proceed with caution in its approach to conversions—and first fix relations among existing followers. Pro-Hindu organizations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad say, for example, that conversion should not be linked to basic needs, such as access to health care or school.

The meek shall inherit
“We have known injustice for generations. It’s wonderful when someone tells you, ‘All human beings are the children of god,’” says Francis, whose grandfather had converted from Hinduism to Christianity.

In Orissa, new converts quickly realize that religious change does not mean equality. For instance, among the Panos, who were originally animists, those who converted came to dominate the social order of the state. They own businesses, hold positions of power and also dominate the clergy, while the condition of tribals remains unchanged.

The strange hierarchy enters economics and politics in other ways; tribal Christians can avail of Scheduled Tribe status, while Dalit Christians cannot of Scheduled Caste status, although certainly there have been efforts to expand quotas to them. In the district of Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, P.B Lomiyo, editor of the magazine, Christian Restoration, says Dalits face similar challenges nationwide. Lomiyo says, “The clergy raise funds for schools for Dalits, but don’t give admission to them. When Dalits demand their rights, they react and encourage the parish to boycott the Dalits.”
One area of great contention has been schools. Father Benjamin Chinnappa, a priest who works in Chicago, runs a school for Dalit children near Puducherry with his US salary.

Even though Dalits need the education and upliftment most, he says, “the school administrators want to keep performance high. They want to compete with other schools and want people who can pay tuition.”

The issue is not entirely new, though. Father Anthony Kurusinkal, editor of The Examiner archdiocesean newspaper for Mumbai, says he had studied the issue of Dalit Christians in 1984 at the request of the Vatican and had made a presentation in the city-state, advocating greater representation from the Dalit community in church leadership. “They wanted to know what the situation is,” he said. “And they decided that no appointments to the post of bishop or archbishop will be made on the basis of caste in India.”

But that was 24 years ago.

Since then, inequality has deepened and become entrenched in the church, says Chinnappa. “The bishops and archbishops will not accept it. But this discrimination against the Dalits is the bitter reality of the Christian church in India.”

The silent church

So far, the Vatican has not addressed the divide, saying it must be resolved by Indian church officials. The pope’s representative in India, Archbishop Pedro Lopez Quintana, declined to comment.

However, the website of Catholic Bishops Conference of India discusses how the government and the Constitution of India have failed Dalits. But it does not list any programmes or policies specifically for them run by the church.

And the Vatican’s directive that bishops should not be chosen on the basis of caste has made no impact on the ground, Kurusinkal says. “There is constant in-fighting going on when a leader is chosen. If it is an area with high caste majority, they will insist that one among them becomes the bishop or priest. If it is a lower caste majority, they want a leader from among them,” he said. Francis alleges that there is no interest in fixing the problem and insists that like all other Dalit Christians, “I am subtly reminded to remember who I am—an untouchable.”

He says letters sent to the Vatican demanding help have met silence. “But we will not be silent. The church leaders in India should stop asking the government to give us the status of the Scheduled Caste. When we embraced Christianity, we came to the Church for a better life,” he says. “Now they cannot go back on it.”
In some cases, the Church’s willingness to look the other way has been in some Indians’ favour, on issues such as birth control and abortion, for example.

Francis says that is because the Vatican has one lone interest in India: conversion. “They have only set up a business enterprise here,” he said, “… solely for promoting conversions, none for Dalit upliftment. We are asking the Vatican to stop all conversion in India for the next 100 years and spend the money on healing those who have already come to the faith.”

Rajdeep Datta Ray contributed to this story from Orissa.

Next: In Orissa, Hindus and Christians alike say some missionaries have used deceitful means to convert villagers.

Christian Conversions at the root of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati killing in Orissa

Conversions at the root of carnage

Soumyajit Pattnaik, Hindustan Times
Bhubaneswar, August 27, 2008

The growing chasm between the Church and the Sangh Parivar is one of
the factors instrumental in igniting communal flare-ups in Orissa.
Religious conversions apart, job reservations for Scheduled Castes who
embrace Christianity (which is forbidden under the law) and domination
over rural businesses has fuelled the tension.

People in several areas of the state have been embracing Christianity
since the days of the British rule. But conversion was not considered
a problem till counter-movements began either to stop them or to
re-convert Christians to Hinduism.

In 1966, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati moved to Chakapada in Kandhamal
district and started his anti-conversion campaign and a year later,
the government enacted the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act (OFRA) to
attach several conditions to provide legal sanctions to certain
conversions and declare others illegal.

The Sangh Parivar’s main grouse is that the Church and missionaries
are doing “illegal conversions” by violating the OFRA. Church leaders
have, however, denied this saying people have voluntarily embraced
Christianity without inducements. SCs who convert to Christianity
cannot enjoy job reservations, but in the recent past Pana (SC)
Christians, especially in Kandhamal district, were trying to get ST
status so they can continue to get quota benefits.

Reason: Unlike SC Christians, converted tribals enjoy quota benefits.

Subas Chavan, national co-convenor of the Bajrang Dal told HT:
“Several SC Christians are falsely identifying themselves as Hindu SCs
and getting job reservation benefits. They are preventing Hindu SCs
from getting jobs.”

YouTube – Orissa:- Christian Terrorism on Hindus in India

The video about Christian terrorism, involving the  cold blooded murder of 84 year old Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati is here

‘Maoists working with Christian organisations in Orissa’: National Commission for Minorities

17 January 2008
‘Maoists working with Christian organisations in Orissa’

” According to intelligence reports, the Maoists have been active in the tribal belt of Orissa and have also recruited tribals as their cadre. However, this is the first time that the working in tandem of Maoists and Christian organizations has come to light. ”
New Delhi, Jan 17 – The Maoists in Orissa are closely working with Christian organisations, but there is no evidence to suggest that the Maoists were involved in the recent communal violence in the state, a member of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) said here Thursday.

‘During our visit to Khandamal (where Christian establishments were destroyed in a communal riot on Christmas eve), we were informed that the Maoists were working with the Christian organizations in the area,’ said Dileep Padgaonkar, member of the NCM.

Padgaonkar was on a visit to the riot-affected areas Jan 6-8 as part of an NCM fact-finding team.

‘However, there was nothing to suggest that the Maoists were involved in the incident (communal riots),’ he said.

The communal clash was a result of the long simmering conflict between Pana (Christian tribals) and Kui tribals.

The Panas have been demanding reservation under the Scheduled Tribes category, which Kuis have has been opposing.

Another important factor, according to the commission, was the anti-conversion campaign conducted by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Sangh Parivar for the last few years.

According to intelligence reports, the Maoists have been active in the tribal belt of Orissa and have also recruited tribals as their cadre. However, this is the first time that the working in tandem of Maoists and Christian organizations has come to light.

The NCM member did not state the extent and manner in which Maoists and Christian organizations were co-ordinating.

Christians terrorists in Orissa threaten to blow up the Mahimapith
Police clueless on threat to bomb Mahimapith

Friday, September 05, 2008
By Orissadiary Correspondent

Dhenkanal: Even after two day, the police have not yet been able to trace the caller, who threatened over telephone on Wednesday to blow up the Mahimapith, the seat of the Mahima cult at Joranda in Orissa’s Dhenkanal district.

District Superintendent of Police Sanjaya Kausal , said that adequate police forces have been deployed to prevent any kind of untoward incident. Moreover, he has requested the telephone department to extract the computer copy from the place the call was made. But the SDO telephones said local calls can not be detected before any prior intimation. The caller only can be located if he has talked from a STD booth or has used any mobile phone.

Sources said a Mahima saint, Lambodar Das received a phone call on the land line number 239035 of Bada Muth at about 12 pm.The caller threatened the sadhu that they will bomb the Mahima cult shrines as the Mahima sadhus are coming on the way of conversion to Christianity. They also threatened to kidnap Sadhu Nityananda Das and Sadhu Naroyan Das.

The head of the Mahima Sadhus has lodged an FIR at Gondia police station in this connection after the threat call. In their FIR, they have also mentioned that a few disciples spotted two unidentified persons moving on the roof Purba Lahadi Kotha. They were armed with guns. The two unidentified persons managed to escape, as the disciples started shouting.

However, it is to be noted that the Mahima cult, which was propagated by Mahima Swami from Dhenkanal in 1873, is in no way a rival to Christianity; rather, the Mahima cult rejects the presence of 33 crore deities and worship of idols by Hindus. They do not believe in mantras and tantras. They only pray Shapeless God (Sunya Devata) by reciting Mahima Alekh.

For the last 135 years, they are engaged in converting Hindus and other upper caste people to the Mahima cult. Mahima sadhus do not enter any Hindu temple. Even if they accompany anyone, they remain outside the temples.

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