India Militants Kill Christian Public Servant; Violence In Other States

Monday, February 12, 2007

By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Suspected militants have killed a 58-year-old practicing Indian Christian and former public servant because of his faith in Christ, a senior human rights official told BosNewsLife Monday, February 12.

S. Stanley, a retired Public Service Commission employee of India's south-western state of Kerala "was stabbed to death" by angry young people Saturday, February 10, in his home in the village of Pavaloor in the Kalliyoor area, said Sajan George, National President of advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

George told BosNewsLife that the attack happened near a local police station, but that security forces arrived too late to intervene.

He said the troubles began Saturday afternoon, February 10, when "some youth assembled in front of Stanley's house", shouting "blasphemous abuses against Christians and Christians."


Stanley and his wife Sisilet Bhai reportedly asked them to leave but "this angered the youth even further. The young men then began stoning the house and violently tried to force open Stanley's gate," in front of his house, George explained.

While Stanley went inside and called local police for assistance, attackers managed to climb over the locked gate, entered the house and "stabbed Stanely several times at his back, neck and stomach," said George, who has close contacts with the Christians. The youth allegedly also "assaulted" his wife Sisilet Bhai.

"Stanley succumbed to his injuries [and] the three suspects fled the scene on a two-wheeler, which was later found, abandoned" in the region, he added. Police reportedly continued to search for the suspects Monday, February 12. One of them was identified as 30-year-old Lalu.

George said that GCIC has linked the attack to anger over Stanley's Christian activities. "Stanley was a practicing Christian, who lived a simple retired life. The youth men targeted him for his faith," he said.


He said GCIC has demanded an investigation into the murder of Stanley "which took place in broad daylight." Funeral arrangements were not immediately clear. The attack in Kerala was the latest in a series of violent incidents against Indian Christians.

--On February 8 Hindu militants reportedly attacked an evangelist of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band in Devasari village of Chhattisgarh state. Anil Khakkar was accused of "forcibly converting Hindus," and police said Khakkar had been in custody. Following the incident the local Communist Party of India-Marxist in Raipur, the state capital, reportedly protested the increasing number of anti-Christian attacks in the state and demanded more protection

--Also on February 8 unidentified people attacked three Christian workers of the Church of Nazarene and damaged their film projector and sound equipment in the state of Maharashtra. The victims – the Rev. Ravi Shambhakar, Ramprakash Sahu and one identified only as Satpute – were attacked as they showed the “Jesus Film” in the Gulmohar area, Compass Direct News agency said. Satpute was immediately rushed to the hospital, where four of his teeth were extracted due to mouth injuries, Christians said.

--The attack came shortly after in the state of Assam, on February 6, Hindu villagers beat a Christian convert, Rahbindra Narzaree, and vandalized his house for refusing to "reconvert" to Hinduism in Bashbari village, news reports said. The Christian Legal Association of India quoted police as saying that Narzaree had converted to Christianity after marrying a Christian woman from the Bodo tribe two years ago.


--Earlier in the state of Karnataka activists of the Hindu RSS and Bajrang Dal groups attacked four Christians with wooden clubs February 4 in a house in Uppalli Village and forced them to a police station. They were detained on charges of "forcible conversion," along with some pastors who went to the jail to secure their release, Indian Christians said. Pastors Ranga, Johnson and Surendra were believed to be still in jail Monday, February 12, as were the other three Christians originally arrested.

--In the state of Haryana, on February 4, Hindu militants and a local police inspector reportedly attacked four woman Christian workers, identified only as Sarita, Geeta, Rosha and Meera, and beat two pastors, identified as Vijaya K.P. and Raj Kumar, in the Thosam area of Bhiwani district, Haryana state. In Karnataka state meanwhile a retired sub-inspector and eight other men on February 1 entered the compound of Compassionate Mission, in the state's Belamanahallil-Kolar district, locked missionary Phillip Abraham in the bathroom and took the manager of the mission, Santosh KJ, 25 kilometers (15 miles) away and beat him, Compass Direct News said. The men allegedly tortured the manager as they interrogated him about the mission’s social ministry, leaving him semi-conscious and bleeding on the Old Madras Road on February 2.

--There were also tensions this month in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh where Hindu militants reportedly belonging to the RSS and the Bajrang Dal groups ransacked the shop of a Christian convert, Mukesh Badehi, in Neelganga area of Madhya Pradesh’s Ujjain district. The Christian was allegedly attacked because he had not closed his shop despite a strike called by the Bajrang Dal to protest the killing of cows, considered holy by Hindus. There is also concern among human rights watchers about growing pressure on churches to accept Hinduism. In published remarks, GCIC National Director George said "Hindu extremists" in the town of Bhadravathy in Karnataka state erected a temple on a site where Church of South India leaders were planning to run a center for humanitarian work next to their church compound.

Hindu groups have expressed outrage about what they see as the spread of Christianity in especially rural areas of India. Christians comprise less than three percent of India's predominantly Hindu population of 1.1 billion people. (With BosNewsLife reporting and additional reports from India.

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