FIACONA urges the Government of India to intervene in the continuing attacks on Christians and Christian institutions
In an urgent plea to the Government of India the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) has highlighted the continuing instances of attacks on Christians in India by extreme factions of Indian society. The Federation, whose mission includes raising awareness both in India and the US about issues of human rights and the rights of minorities in India, has said that the Government of India is failing in its constitutional duty to protect Christian populations in states such as Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa and Bihar.
Pointing to a stream of attacks in the last two months FIACONA President Reverend Bernard Malik said, "We are grieved to note the recent atrocity against a church and its worshipping congregation in Karnataka on the weekend of Pentecost, when dozens of Hindu militants attacked during a worship service, injuring the pastor and his associate. The attack reportedly took place right after the Sunday worship at an Assembly of God congregation in Shrirangapattana taluka near Mysore allegedly by members of the Bajrang Dal." Rev Malik expressed his disappointment at the dubious role of the local police in addressing the situation. Apparently a written assurance was extracted from the pastor and his associate that they would not hold any more services in that place of worship.
This month's attack was the latest in a series of reported violent incidents against the Assembly of God church and other believers. The pastor and his associate were also attacked in April last year and allegedly beaten inside their church before being taken to the same police station where they claimed they were kept for the whole night.
Another reported attack took place against members of the Christian organization 'Youth With A Mission' on May 5 in Kalkari village inKarnataka's northern district of Dharwad. The youth members were apparently dragged to a nearby Hindu temple and made to bow down before an idol. They were then taken by some Hindu militants to the Police station where they were accused of "disturbing the peace". Fortunately there were no serious injuries in this episode.
News from Kerala this month reports that eight students of Darseba Bible College, run by the India Pentecostal Church at Chettimukku, near Kozhencherry, were injured on Thursday when they were assaulted allegedly by a group of motorbike-borne persons owing allegiance to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The incident took place when the victims were waiting by the roadside to
attend a funeral. According to the police, the Bible College students were attacked without any provocation.
FIACONA expressed its grief over the passing away of Catholic priest, Father Mathew Uzhuthal at Patna's Kurji Holy Family Hospital on May 1. Father Uzhuthal succumbed to the stab injuries he suffered from an attack on him by a criminal youth at Mokama on April 11. Mr. Abraham Mammen, National Vice President of FIACONA said "We do not take much comfort from the fact that the attack was apparently not motivated by anti-Christian sentiments but was a case of criminal intimidation and assault for extortion of money. Father Uzhuthal was a distinguished and learned man of God with a long record of service to his diocese in Bihar."
FIACONA appealed to the Government of India to take serious note of the spread of hate campaigns against Christian institutions in certain states of India. Mr. Mammen noted that "The great expectation that the Congress led UPA coalition would take strong action against those who would disrupt the right of religious freedom in India has not been borne out. The legacy of the BJP led government still casts a big shadow over the nation. However the reporting on these violations of human rights and the rights of religious freedom in India by the local and national media was improving and this is a matter of satisfaction."