Monday, November 24, 2008


In India's Orissa state, the location of a recent spike of Christian persecution, fundamentalist Hindus are offering a bounty for Christian leaders:
Extremist Hindu groups offered money, food and alcohol to mobs to kill Christians and destroy their homes, according to Christian aid workers in the eastern India state of Orissa.

The U.S.-based head of Good News India, a Christian organization that runs several orphanages in Orissa — one of India’s poorest regions — claims that Christian leaders are being targeted by Hindu militants and carry a price on their heads. "The going price to kill a pastor is $250," said Faiz Rahman, the chairman of Good News India.

A spokesman for the All-India Christian Council said: “People are being offered rewards to kill, and to destroy churches and Christian properties. They are being offered foreign liquor, chicken, mutton and weapons. They are given petrol and kerosene.”

Ram Madhav, a spokesman for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the largest hardline Hindu group, denied the claims. “The accusation is absolutely false,” he said.

Orissa has suffered a series of murders and arson attacks in recent months, with at least 67 Christians killed, according to the Roman Catholic Church. Several thousand homes have been razed and hundreds of places of worship destroyed, and crops are now wasting in the fields.

Such persecution is illegal in India, but it's a matter of local enforcement. If the elected leadership doesn't care they simply look the other way. It's time for the government to step in here.

As I've stated before, Christianity is a convenient scapegoat for the fact that the younger generation are less dedicated Hindus. Their real problem is the rise of education, modernity and 'material agnosticism'. Their children aren't, by and large, becoming Christians, but rather becoming middle class.

[Thanks to Theosebes reader Eric for alerting me to the bounty story.]

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