Nearly 100 Christians Injured In New Attacks In India

Monday, January 21, 2008

NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)-- An uneasy calm returned to a Christian missionary camp and another area Sunday, January 20, in India's Chhattisgarh state where up to 100 Christians were injured in attacks this week carried out by suspected Hindu militants, BosNewsLife learned.

The attacks came on the heels of violence targeting Christian institutions in Orissa state, in which at least nine people died, since Christmas, church and police officials said.

On Saturday, January 19, the 60-year-old Kajuru Digal was the latest Christian believer to die in Orissa after he lost his house "in the communal violence in [Orissa's] Barkhama [village]," said Sajan K. George, president of the influential advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

"He had developed some serious ailments on Friday, January 18," apparently because of unhygienic conditions in the camp where mainly Christian refugees are held, George told BosNewsLife. There was concern there would be also deaths among attacked Christians in Chhattisgarh state, but on Sunday, January 20, there were no reports that injured believers there had died.


Troubles began Wednesday, January 16, when activists of the Hindu nationalist Bajrang Dal group attacked a group of Christians in the state's Durg, accusing them of being involved in forced conversions, police said. More than 80 people were injured in the attack, which happened during a large Christian meeting, according to church sources.

"A case of riot has been registered by the Gurur police against unnamed persons on the complaint by one Suresh Gokaran Sahu of Bhotali village of Durg district, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) from the state capital," police official Prashant Thakur told reporters. However, no arrest has been made so far, the Press Trust of India news agency quoted him as saying.

Christians said some 60 people, believed to be Bajrang Dal activists, came in vehicles shouting pro-Hindu slogans and assaulting Christians believers. They also set at least one car on fire and destroyed other chairs and other objects, Christians said. The violence was followed by an attack on a Christian health camp run by missionaries Thursday, January 17, in Dhamtari district that hurt at least a dozen Christians, local believers said.


Activists of Hindu organization Dharamsena allegedly attacked the camp, while some 500 people gathered there apparently for treatment and worship. The attackers burnt vehicles and other equipment in the camp and attacked participants, "accusing them of participating in conversions," witnesses said.

Human rights groups have expressed concerns about recent attacks against Christians, which they have described as the worst since India gained independence some 60 years ago.

Christians comprise less than three percent of India's mainly Hindu population of 1.1 billion people. (With BosNewsLife Correspondents reporting from the region).

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