Why attacks on
Christians, who are
only 2.3 per cent of the mammoth over 125 crore population of the nation, are
seems to be jittery because of the terror allegedly unleashed by the so-called
‘protectors’ of the major religion on them, their worship places and
institutions in various states of India. They feel helpless amid unprecedented
attacks they have been facing for some time.
Scores of incidents of
rapes of nuns, murder of nuns, attacks on pastors and priests, burning of
churches, attacks on churches, Christian institutions and Christian
congregations have been reported by the media from time to time, whereas, a lot
ones have gone unreported also, in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh states. In
some cases the guardians of law have initiated action, whereas in a vast number
of cases, no action has been taken so far.
Is it not a matter of
introspection by one and all that why these attacks were unleashed on
Christians, especially on nuns, priests, pastors and worshippers? Are they
criminals, anti-socials, anti-nationals, law-breakers or militants? If not, why
these law-abiding citizens of India are being attacked, harassed and
persecuted, for no fault of them?
person can sense that these attacks were being made not for the personal gain
of the attackers, but they are being used as pawns by some as a part of their
political agenda. In fact, Christians are being victimized for their faith. If
the Christians are preaching the Gospel, it is their bounden duty to do so,
because their Master (Jesus Christ) had commanded them to go and preach the
gospel and make disciples of all nations. And the Indian Constitutions has also
given this liberty to every citizen to profess his faith. “It is not right in
God’s sight to obey men rather than God.”
Catholic nun gang-raped
On June 20 last, a
Catholic nun in her late 40s was gang-raped in Raipur, the capital city of
Chhattisgarh in Central India. However, no arrest was reportedly made so far in
congregation, Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate, said the incident has
hurt them deeply. “We could not talk to each other for days,” said one nun on
condition of anonymity.
The victim, she said,
has not yet recovered from the trauma. Adding to her woe is the regular
quizzing by police teams and other groups — so much so that she cringes upon
seeing new policewomen who come on rotation to provide her security.
The victim says she was
raped, but the police and the administration insist she was only molested (a
crime known as “outraging the modesty of a woman,” or sexual assault without
penetration), giving the impression that the government wants to downplay the
The National Human
Rights Commission has accused the police and the government officials of
mishandling the investigation into the rape of the nun. The commission found
several deficiencies in the official investigation.
The commission said
that the Chhattisgarh government failed to offer the victim compensation, legal
aid or psychological counselling as required under Indian law. Fr Sebastian
Poomattam, vicar general of the Raipur diocese, said the rights group’s
statement has confirmed “all that we have been saying about” the poor police
Nuns arrested on charge
of rape in CG
Last month, the
Chhattisgarh police arrested three people, including hostel warden Krist Maria
of Jyoti Mission School for their alleged involvement in the molestation case
of a minor girl.
Earlier, the trio was
booked under Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Later, when the
medical reports didn’t confirm rape of the victim, Section 376 against the
accused was withdrawn. Though the police were confirm that the allegations made
against the accused were fabricated, the Chhattisgarh police, under pressure
from the anti-social elements and a few politicians, kept the two nuns under
custody in Ambikapur Central Jail.
It is a known fact that
our law enforcing agency (police) anywhere in the country is too swift in
taking action against the people of the minority community on any fake
complaint, though they have been proved to be a failure in probing other cases.
It gives birth to a feeling that they are also part of the conspiracy.
Communal outrages in MP
The gang-rape of three
Catholic nuns and an attack on a Christian missionary centre in Jhabua district
of Madhya Pradesh lead to allegations of a communal mobilisation to target
On September 23, a
group of people turned up at Priti Sharan, a Catholic mission
church-cum-dispensary in Nawapara village in Jhabua district. Claiming that a
patient required urgent medical attention, they demanded admittance into the
building. The only persons present in the church at that time were four nuns
who hailed from Pondicherry and who knew little Hindi. They did not immediately
open the door. Thereupon, the gang force opened the door. Over the next two
hours, they looted cash and other valuables from the church and raped three of
the nuns, whose cries for help went unheeded.
On September 26,
another missionary centre at Jamali in the same district came under attack.
Some persons tried to break open the door of the premises and later pelted on
the premises with stones. However, the administration alleged that some
hoodlums were trying to extort money from the centre.
Cold-blooded murder of
Sister Rani Maria in MP
Sister Rani Maria, a
Roman Catholic nun, was murdered in a knife attack by a hit-man named Samandar
Singh at Nachanbore Hill in Indore, Madhya Pradesh on February 25, 1995. The
murder was pre-planned because some landlords were offended by her work among
the landless poor.
members of the slain nun had forgiven the murderer and accepted him as one of
their family members. Her younger sister Selmy, who is also a Catholic nun,
ties Rakhi on his wrist every year since he was in jail.
The accused who served
a prison term for the murder of the Franciscan Clarist nun said that the
forgiveness shown to him by the slain nun’s family has given him a “new
life.” Samandhar Singh told Catholic
News Service that he experienced a “rebirth” during a 2002 visit by Sister
Selmy, the younger sister of slain Sister Rani Maria Vattalil, while he was in
According to the police,
Singh stabbed Sr Rani Maria 54 times in front of more than 50 bus passengers in
a jungle area near Udainagar allegedly at the behest of money lenders affected
by the nun’s social work among village women who were organising self-help
groups. He was convicted of the murder and sentenced to death, but the sentence
was commuted to life in prison.
Proof of impunity of
criminals in church robbery
In August last, in
Madhya Pradesh, a parish church has been robbed, prompting Church leaders to
accuse the state authorities of allowing criminals to commit crimes against
Christians with impunity.
The miscreants, taking
advantage of darkness, broke into St Joseph Church in Ganj Basoda under Sagar
diocese on August 13 and stole an unspecified amount of cash from the
collection box, parish officials said.
“This is the third
theft from this church” in less than a year, parish priest Nitish Jacob said.
The first was on December 3 when thieves entered the presbytery and stole about
1,00,000 rupees. A second attempt took place on February 15, but was foiled
when people inside the presbytery woke up.
Chirayath of Sagar bemoaned what he said was a complete lack of police action
in trying to stop attacks on Christians in the state, which encourages
criminals to commit further acts.
Christians have faced a
series of attacks since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in
the state in December 2003, allege the Church leaders.
“The Church has been
continuously denied justice even after proper complaints made to the
authorities about assaults, attacks and other criminal cases against it and its
members, but to date there isn’t a single example in which the administration
has acted properly to boost the trust and confidence of the people,” State
Bishops Council spokesperson Fr Maria Stephen said.
A few more incidents of
attacks on Christians:
- On May 13, 2015, the Sayog Ganj
police have arrested a group of people praying in Masih Mandir and registered
FIR against them in Indore district of MP.
- On May 8, 2015, Kukshi police have,
at the behest of alleged religious fanatics, cancelled permission to conduct a
Prarthana Sabha organised in Dhar district of MP.
- On April 3, 2015, the Chempur police,
along with some VHP and Bajrang Dal workers stopped a Good Friday special
prayer going on at Dasal Gaon Panchayath in Khargone district.
- On March 30, 2015, the VHP and
Bajrang Dal workers, along with Chempur police, stopped a prayer meeting
organised at Hardala Panchayat in Khargone district, even though the organisers
had written permission to hold the programme. The miscreants, in front of the
police, engaged in pelting with stones and manhandling the organisers, but the
police did not take any action or tried to stop them.
- On March 24, 2015, under the Jabalpur
Civil Line Police Station area, around 50 persons, belonged to Dharma Sena and
Bajrang Dal attacked the St Peter and Paul Church. They first vandalised the
Parish House inside the church premises. Later they attacked the St Thomas and
St Aloysius School and roughed up people who had come to participate in a
Christian convention. More than a dozen people were injured in the incident,
one of them critically. The men, including the chief of the group, were
identified from CCTV footage. Six of the accused were released from the police
station itself, but the police have failed to arrest the main accused so far.
- On March 1, 2015, a group of Hindu
Jagran Manch (HJM) activists stormed the Christian prayer meeting under Jobat
Police Station area in Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh. The activists
raised slogans outside the prayer hall, accusing the Christians of converting
the local tribal people by “inducement”. The mob was lead by HJM activist
Pratap Singh Dawar.
- On December 28, 2014, in Indore, the
Bajrang Dal and the Dharm Jagaran Manch activists attacked the inter-religious
prayer programme organised by the Sadbhavana foundation headed by former
Advocate General of Madhya Pradesh Anand Mohan Mathur after taking due
permission. The activists dragged Fr Prasad and Bro Sleeva to the police
station. They hit and abused them, but the police took no action against the
- In December 2014, a Christian couple
was taken to custody and booked under the anti-conversion law by Goganva police
in Khargone district of MP, on the allegation of a Hindu woman that she had
been offered Rs 5,000 every month if she is converted to Christianity.
- On December 12, 2014, the Ratlam
police have booked some Christian convention organisers under the
anti-conversion law, even though there was no evidence of forced religious
- On September 25, 2014 a church in
Mandla district was burnt down by unidentified miscreants. Police have not been
able to nab the culprits so far.
- On September 12, 2014, in Khargone, Madhya
Pradesh, a group of five members of Mizoram Missionary Society were arrested on
false charges of offering money to a labourer to embrace Christianity.
- On August 30, 2014, a group of
people attacked a priest, nuns, teachers and workers inside a school campus
under Intkhedi police station area in Bhopal district, but the police did not
take any action.
- On August 21, 2014, in Paanigao,
under Kataphod police station area, fundamentalists attacked a Church and
- On August 17, 2014, in Sukhiya,
Indore, two Christian preachers were arrested on alleged religious conversion
- On June 30, 2014, in Killoda village
in Dewas district, a pastor was severely beaten up by a mob of about 150
assailants during an afternoon prayer meeting.
- On June 14, 2014, in Katni, Madhya
Pradesh, a group of people from the fundamentalist groups attacked Christians
in prayer and tore the Holy Bible, but the police refused to take action
against any of the offenders.
The present situation
smacks of some viciousness and a kind of a hate campaign against the community.
It seems all this is done with impunity because there is an unspoken acceptance
and even encouragement from the powers that be. This could also be a frantic
effort to spread panic among the people of the community by creating such
incidents on regular interval and that is exactly what the right-wing forces
However, some have
called these attacks ‘deliberate attempts’ to intimidate the Christian