Monday, September 1, 2008

3,000 Forcible "Re-Conversions" to Hinduism

Hindu Activists Forcibly "Re-converting" Christians to "Original Religion"

Christian leaders said Hindu activists had forced about 3,000 Christans in riot-affected parts of the state to renounce their religion in the past few days while Hindu leaders maintain the conversions were voluntary.

The GCIC Persecution website has a report:
"Armed Hindu activists are raiding the villages and threatening them with violence if they do not convert to Hinduism immediately. We can prove that Christians are being forcibly converted to Hinduism in Kandhamal [the riot-hit Orissa district]," said Sajan K George, the national president of the Global Council of the Indian Christians in Bhubaneshwar, Orissa's state capital.

"Fearing for their lives, the poor Christians are taking part in the rituals of conversion to Hinduism. For the past week, in many villages, Hindu activists have been conducting forced conversions," he said.

"The most unfortunate fact is that everything is happening under the nose of the authorities. Despite our appeals neither the state government nor the local police have done anything to protect the Christians."

Hindu leaders say that their ongoing Hindu "homecoming" ceremonies are being attended voluntarily by Christians.

From Violence to Conversions:

While in the first few days after the Saraswati's death, Hindus resorted to violence against Christians, since a strict curfew they have changed their strategy and begun organising conversions ceremonies virtually at gunpoint.

According to Christian leaders, Hindu activists have even entered the forests where some Christians are hiding to force them to go through the Hindu conversion rituals.

"Truckloads of [Hindu] militants from neighbouring states of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have entered the area to back up the VHP [Viswa Hindu Parishad or World Hindu Council] campaign. Armed with bombs, swords and guns these VHP militants are pouncing on poor, weak and defenceless Christians," said Mr Sajan George.

"They have already killed 43 innocent Christians in this violence. In the past four days at least 3,000 Christians have been forcibly converted to Hinduism. Villagers cowering in fear are giving in to their threats and going through the [Hindu] rituals. It is inhuman," added Mr Sajan George.

Babu Joseph, another Christian leader, said Hindu activists were shouting slogans in praise of Hinduism and shouting that they would "reconvert" Christians throughout the country.

Grandmother Dies Without Medicine, Denied Christian Burial, Cremated:

Kabita Naik, a 22-year-old Christian girl who fled from her village of Raikia on Friday, said her seriously sick grandmother died after Hindu activists besieged her village and refused to let the family buy medicines from the nearby town.

"When the body of my grandmother was taken to the Christian burial ground by our [Christian] neighbours, the Hindu activists forcibly took away the body and burnt it [as the Hindus do]. They said, 'you are all Hindus and this Christian burial ground is not meant for your dead'," Ms Naik said, her voice wavering with emotion.

Surajen Underwent Hindu Ritual For the Sake of Crying Wife and Children:

Surajen Naik, 45, wrote in a letter to a relative in Bhubaneshwar that Hindus were destroying the church in his village of Phiringia. He said that he, as well as other villagers, ran into the forest to hide.

"Armed with knives and guns they [Hindu activists] entered the forest and said they would kill and dump our bodies in the river if we don't convert.

"My children and wife were all crying in fear and I agreed to take part in the ritual ... the accompanying [Hindu] priests chanted hymns and washed our feet with 'holy' water they were carrying and said 'from today you are Hindus again and can return to your
village'."

4 comments:

Aristarkhos said...

This is not surprising. Media has always downplayed atrocities against christian converts, missionaries, and institutions.
Even tho the Hindu right wing targets institutions that have been set up to care for those who the Hindus do not give a damn about.
And it does not help when a prominent media man like Rajdeep Sardesai passes thoughtless comments on TV and labels christian evangelists as fanatics.

Thank you for covering the Orissa issue.

Anonymous said...

We Indians are descended from the children of Noah's three sons as written in Genesis. Our original religion of our first fore fathers was the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible! So there is no question of any homecoming for Indians to any other religion. Hinduism came much later. The ancient sages of India were searching for God to come and deliver them from the evils of this world.....and Jesus is the answer to their search, as countless Indians have witnessed.

Francisco said...

Is there any outcry at all in the Indian media about these atrocities and forced conversions? Or rather a silent schadenfreude at the "pawns of foreigners" or some such getting their due?

I haven't seen this crisis mentioned anywhere, even on the Web, except this blog and Sandro Magister over at chiesa.it.

ChainBelt said...

the problem is that we Christians are the only religion who still believe in peace. if we started a war over every little thing like most other religions out there, we would never be targeted like this. if we bombed 2 hindu places for every attacked Christian home/church, then after a few short months of chaos, other countries would intervene and maintain the peace since the Indian government has no intention to help us. if we want change, we should start with the media that constantly insults Christianity and Jesus, thereby making others think we are pushovers. NOTE: i'm not supporting violence since that's against what Jesus preaches; but remember that even Jesus lost his temper and chased out those merchants (after smashing their wares) who defiled the church. i don't care so much about those who died for their beliefs since they're martyrs now and with God, but i fear for the souls of those who converted since they're going to burn in hell.