Friday, September 12, 2008


Tensions are rising in India as Christians are under attack from Hindu fundamentalists, particularly in the state of Orissa:
Attacks on nuns, churches and Christian refugees across India are stoking fears that Hindu extremists are planning to target minority communities as the country prepares for a general election.

The worst anti-Christian violence in India since independence 60 years ago came in Kandhamal district, in the state of Orissa, in recent weeks. Hindu fanatics attempted to poison water sources at relief camps holding at least 15,000 people displaced by mob violence, local activists alleged. Hundreds of Christian refugees in the region were told not to return to their homes unless they converted to Hinduism.

In Chattisgarh, central India, two nuns from the Missionaries of Charity, the order founded by Mother Teresa, were beaten by a mob when they took four orphans to an adoption centre.

Christians can be a convenient target of Hindu fundamentalists who may not want to risk a confrontation with Muslims. Christians are a relatively small and peaceful minority group. Some officials find it politically expedient to look the other way, as well. Still, as I have pointed out before, on my trips to India I have never felt in any immediate danger. But one hopes the authorities will not tolerate this sort of treatment, regardless of how localized it might be.

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