India Hindu Militants Attack Church and Mission Station in Karnataka, Pastor and Child "Traumatized"

Monday, July 17, 2006

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE (BosNewsLife) -- Hindu militants attacked an evangelical church and base for Christian missionaries in the suburbs of the south Indian city Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka state, causing serious damage and leaving the pastor and his small child "terribly traumatized," local Christians said Monday, July 17.

The "premeditated attack" against the Marthoma Church congregation and its Shivanapura Marthoma Mission station in Shivanapura village, 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Bangalore, began just before midnight Saturday, July 15, following a six-month stand-off with the militants, said the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), an influential Bangalore-based advocacy group.

In a message from Bangalore to BosNewsLife, GCIC President Sajan K. George explained that Rev. Alexander Tharakan as well as his wife, their two-year-old child, and his 70 year-old-mother were suddenly attacked while staying "inside the moderate living quarters of the church before the attackers unleashed terror on the church."

He said, "Rev. Alexander and his child are terribly traumatized by the...attack." It was not immediately clear if the militants injured the family members, but George added he has learned that "extensive damage is caused to the church/mission station." The "radicals violently attacked Shivanapura mission center," George stressed.


The small congregation is part of an "indigenous missionary movement for the people of Karnataka state. The missionary movement among the poor [has been working there] for over the past 30 years," he said.

There has been concern among Indian Christians about what they see as increased Hindu-violence against them, especially in rural areas where Christianity is spreading among different groups, including Dalits, also known as "the untouchables" because they are considered the 'lowest caste' in India's ancient system of Hinduism.

His group criticized the Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy for allegedly failing to take "visible actions to protect the lives and properties of Christians." George said, "We are intrigued by the increased number of attacks against Christians in Karnataka after Mr. Kumaraswamy assumed [power] as the chief minister of Karnataka." There was no immediate reaction from the government.


"We would like to caution the present government...that the war on terrorism can only be [successful] by curbing the indigenous religious terror groups. We once again urge the state government and central agencies to tackle the perpetrators to maintain peace and tranquility in Karnataka," George said.

Karnataka and other areas of South India have one of the largest Christian populations in India. Local traditions claim that the Biblical Apostle Thomas brought Christianity to the region, although some have questioned the historic evidence. (With BosNewsLife Research and reports from India).

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