India Attacks Against Christian Missionaries Spreading

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

By BosNewsLife Asia Service

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Attacks against native Christian missionaries in India's eastern state of Orissa have spread to other areas, a mission organization confirmed in statements seen by BosNewsLife Tuesday, October 21.

Gospel for Asia (GFA) said its missionary Mohan Girji was beaten in the state of Jharkhand last Friday, October 17, by what it described as "anti-Christian extremists," a reference to suspected Hindu militants who oppose the spread of Christianity in this predominantly Hindu nation.

The next day, "a large group of fanatics gathered with the purpose of bringing Orissa's persecution rampage to their state as well," GFA added.

"We will make our district like Orissa," where up to 60 Christians have been killed in the last two months, the mob allegedly declared. In addition Hindu militants apparently also attacked a GFA-backed church and “gathered with the intention of beating two other GFA missionaries,” the group said. "The tension in the area forced the Christians to gather in another nearby location."


It came just days after news emerged of an attack against Christian missionaries in the state of Uttar Pradesh where GFA said missionary Sursen and his wife, Nirmala—along with two Bible college students, Jolen and Kushal—"were beaten by a mob of religious extremists on October 5."

GFA said the attacks came as the group was praying before their regular Sunday morning worship service. "A mob of about 300 people descended on the Christians in an orchestrated attack. The extremists beat them up and handed them over to the police for arrest under false accusations of terrorism."

GFA field leaders spoke with local police and authorities on the missionaries' behalf, the group said. "By God's grace, the missionaries and Bible college students were released from jail that evening and the situation calmed down."


However the group said it also saw some hopeful signs of reconciliation in Orissa, where the latest wave of anti-Christian violence began in August, following the killing of a revered Hindu leader and four of his followers.

It said police and officials intervened after militants destroyed a partly build church of GFA missionary Parth Ketak and demolished 10 Christian homes "and tore the bamboo structures to shreds, smashing all of their furniture," and household goods.

"In an effort to save their lives, the believers were forced to run and find shelter in the nearby jungle. [However] after the event, GFA leaders in Assam went to the police [who] then met with local political leaders and [helped] to form a Peace Committee." GFA said the Committee will now "help the believers by keeping anti-Christian extremists from stirring up further problems" in the village.

"In addition to the diplomatic aid, the police and Peace Committee came together to provide the Christians with necessities that they lost in the radicals' rampage." GFA said that local Christians had asked "prayer that God will bless those on the Peace Committee who are helping them in their time of loss. They also ask for prayer that the fanatics who attacked their church construction site and homes will come to know the love of Jesus," in a region where violence has continued.

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