India Christians Attacked for Watching 'Passion of The Christ'

Monday, March 28, 2005

Monday, 28 March 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)-- At least one Christian was seriously injured when Hindu militants "brutally attacked" church members in India's southern Kerala state for watching the film 'The Passion of The Christ', an official confirmed Monday, March 28.

The national governor of Christian advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Sajan K George, told BosNewsLife the incident happened on Easter eve in Kerala's oldest church, the 'Kanai Church', in the Chalakud Taluka region.

He said 25 activists of the Hindu fundamentalist organization Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) interrupted the screening of the famous movie of Academy Award winning Director Mel Gibson, when they raided the church and began beating parishioners.

"The RSS members did not even spare women and children," he added. "The attack left
one of the parishioners, Mr. George Kutty, seriously injured," George said. The RSS was not immediately available for comment.


George claimed "Hindu militants" also stole money from an eight-member team of the Kanai Church and "desecrated the church building." In a letter to Indian President Abdul J. Kalam he warned that the "savage attack" on the eve of Easter "sent a disturbing signal to the six million-strong Christian community in Kerala."

"The Passion of The Christ is one of the most acclaimed movies on the suffering Christ bore for the sinful world. The attack on the congregation for screening and watching this film shows the indifference of the RSS to the sensitiveness of Christians," he alleged.

The members of the Kanai Church are followers of Canai Thoma, who is believed to have migrated from Persia to Kerala in AD 425. Experts say there are very few Kanai Christians left in the state.


The attack against them came after several recent reports of anti-Christian in Kerala.
Last month, RSS activists beat up six Christian theology students from the Asian Biblical
Seminary near Mannar in Kerala's Alappuzha district, said the Italy-based Christian
news agency, Asia News.

Last year in September a group of unidentified men attacked seven nuns of Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity order on the outskirts of Calicut town, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from Kerala's commercial capital Cochin, reported Asia News.

In August Father Job Chittilappilly was killed at his parish in the town of Thuruthiparambu in Kerala, while he was saying the Rosary in his private quarters, claimed the news agency, which has close contacts with Catholics in the region. He had allegedly been threatened by militants for his pastoral activities among Hindu families.


A Christian parliamentarian from Kerala has raised concern about the apparent growing Christian persecution in India in the current session of Parliament on March 17, BosNewsLife learned. Francis George of the Kerala Congress party said "various murderous attacks had taken place in Kerala in recent times" and that RSS activists were behind most incidents of
anti-Christian violence.

George urged the Indian government to take "urgent steps to protect the Christian community" as there had been "a spate of attacks against believers in several parts of the country."

Kerala is known as 'the Cradle of Christianity in India' because Apostle Thomas allegedly established the first church, the Syrian Church, here in AD 52. Christians comprise almost 20 percent of Kerala's 30 million strong population, according to estimates. (Based in New Delhi, Journalist Vishal Arora, 32, has covered persecution and other hard hitting news stories for a variety of international and national publications. He has traveled around the country on invitation by NGOs for seminars and talks on human rights, communalism, and religious persecution. Vishal Arora can be contacted at e-mail address or visit his website )