Thursday, September 4, 2008

"'Father They Are Going to Burn Me": Rajni's Last Words

Rajni' Death is a Deep Wound in my Heart

Fr. Edward, Survivor of Arson in Orissa Recalls How Rajni Was Burnt to Death

Fr. Edward Sequeira SVD

Fr Edward Sequeira, one of the victims of the violence committed by Hindu radicals in Orissa, does not hesitate to call them "terrorists". Groups connected to Sangh Parivar seized him, beat him for more than an hour, and then shut him inside a room that they set on fire. Fr Edward was able to save himself by taking shelter in the bathroom. Before he passed out, he heard the screams of Rajni Majh, who was tied up and thrown into the flames, where she was burned to death.

Initial reports said that she was a sister, then a lay missionary. Fr Edward explains that the girl was one of the many orphans he had rescued, and that she lived and worked in the orphanage he had founded.

Fr Edward is unable to hold back the tears, and begins sobbing when he talks about her. The crowd of fanatics may have thought that Rajni was one of the many people they believe have been forced to convert through "Christian proselytism". "'She was only a simple Hindu girl", the priest says, "studying in the plus 3 class. I can still hear her voice, 'Father they are going to burn me', these were her last words to me, after this I lost consciousness". Her death "is a deep wound in my heart".

Hindu fundamentalists have long been conducting a campaign against conversions to Christianity, and against evangelization. For Fr Edward, 58, missionary activity is something that upholds the dignity of the person. He spoke to Asianews:

"I have been working among lepers in Padampur in Bargarh district for the past ten years. I realized that, given the preference for a male child in rural Indian communities, parents many times have more than 4-5 daughters before a son is born - and unfortunately, these girls are rarely sent to school, they are made to graze cattle or even sent at early age as domestic workers or to the landlords, and many girls suffer from malnutrition.

"So I started a very small hostel-orphanage for girls, to give them opportunity and dignity through education and vocational training.

"One such girl in my orphanage was Rajni Majhi, who was born to Hindu parents who already had 5 or 6 daughters, and they gave her up for adoption to a Hindu tribal childless couple. Sadly, when the adopted parents after a few years conceived biological children, they began ill-treating and discriminating against Rajni, and in this reality she came to my orphanage four years ago. Within a few months, she was bubbling with life, the younger girls called her “Nanni’ (big sister), and besides studying in college in her 13th year, Rajni would be like a governess to the children.

"All the development programmes for these leprosy patients and the other dalits have all been for Hindus. More than 25 years I have worked in Orissa, and not a single person have I converted to Christianity".

Hatred of Christianity and personal development is what drives radical Hindu groups to try to wipe out the presence of Christians and their institutions. "Who says that terrorists are only those who plant bombs and carry guns? This was a terrorist attack on Orissa. What about these Sangh Parivar members, who have been given the license to kill, destroy and plunder their fellow citizens? This was sheer terrorism unleashed on the Christians in Kandhmal district".

Fr Edward explains what happened to him: "On Monday August 25th, around 1.30 pm, as I was having lunch, there was a knock on the door. When I opened it, a huge crowd of more than 500 people were outside and asked 'Who is the priest?'. This is nothing strange, as often people come requesting my help, for my vehicle to drive them to a hospital or other such emergencies. As soon as I identified myself, they raised their arms holding all the weapons - axes, shovels, spades and iron rods.They took me outside in the courtyard and began hitting me, screaming abuses at Christianity and shouting 'Bajrang Bali Ki Jai; Yesu Christi Murdabada; Hail Lord Hanuman (editor's note: a Hindu god with the face of a monkey), destroy, eliminate Jesus Christ', beating me on my head, back, all over my body.

"The extremists thrashed me for nearly an hour (editor's note: Fr Edward still has bruises all over his body, and five wounds on his back).

"Then they entered my room, collected all the clothes and books and whatever they laid their hands on and piled it in the centre of the room, threw some kerosene on the pile, and some crude oil, and threw some gelatine sticks which they had brought with them and lit the fire and threw me into the flames and locked the door from the outside.

"Somehow, I was not frightened, there was definitely the divine presence in the burning room, and I went into the bathroom and locked myself in and shut all the windows. The whole room was engulfed in thick smoke and flames.

"The attackers were shouting Bajrang Bali Ki Jai; Yesu Christi Murdabada, and hurling abuses. They went to the garage and burned the vehicle, I could hear some of them on the roof setting fire from the top. Thick smoke was in the bathroom, where I was hiding, it was dark and full of thick smoke, and as I inhaled the smoke my only concern was for the children.

Rajni Majhi Who Was Thrown into the Fire by the Mob

"In the meanwhile, the children and Rajni, who witnessed the mob assaulting me, took the children inside their own orphanage room which is next to mine and bolted the door from the inside. The men who had climbed onto the roof entered the room and dragged Rajni outside with the children - some of the children escaped. They brought her outside my bathroom window. I could hear the cries of Rajni, and the mob was cheering and shouting through the window. These criminals tied her hands together - they made a huge bonfire in the orphanage room and threw her onto the fire. They used sickles, shovels and other weapons to prevent her from running away, these extremists did not allow her to even move from the burning flames".
See Separate Story: How 20 Year Old Rajni Was Burnt to Death by a Cheering Mob


Belinda said...

What is the government of India doing to protect its citizens?

surya said...

Thanks for the news we need to bring this to the attention of human rights groups across the world. These crimes are perpetrated by aryan hindu terrorists in India.

theophilus said...

Does their religion preach violence? why do they shout religious slogan, burning woman to death alive...

regina said...

it is the violation of constitutional Rights. We have no democracy any more but vandalism, rowdy rajiyam. What is happening to the administration? If there is one and they should be squarely blamed and own up respomsibility for all these attacioties aganist the poor, the women and especially the children,priests and nuns. The nation should hang its head in shame for its apathy. What the administration has done is nothing copmapred to the violence inflicted, the property destroyed and the terror created. Please act.reginafmm

Anonymous said...

thanks for the news; Is indian safe in their own country? what the government doing to protect its citizens?

Martin said...

It's a National Shame and shockingly some of the TV news channels in India (in the name of so called "documentary news") without any sympathy or pity (and of course without any single evidence) are propagating false reports blaming innocent Christians behind the mindless violence, even though India & the entire world knows that Hindu fundamentalist groups are the perpetrators of this well organized genocide crime in Orissa.

Lemoorian said...

It is pity that the people have lost the religiousness and going for religious fenaticism.

The religion that supposed to tame the human has brutalized the people.

How can we be sure that this arrogant attitude of a few would not give birth to another rebelious/ terrorist organization?

Oh king of peace... grant us your peace...

Anonymous said...

All this in the name of revenge. When maoists have claimed it was their doing, why do 'organizations' like the VHP and RSS keep going after Christians?

Are personal armies like the RSS even legal? If they want to fight for their country they can join the armed forces. If SIMI has been banned then why not RSS and VHP? Whats the difference between them apart from religion?

Anonymous said...

Declare BJP, Bajrangdal, RSS, VHP, Shiv Sena as Terrorist organisations

Pete said...

Who are these people, first of all are they indians? then which indian could inflict such pain on a fellow indian? Is this what the freedom fighters fought for, they did not see Hindu, muslims or's a crying shame that we have independence, only to give way to vandalism. I ask this question to every Indian who can read this blog, which RELIGION propagates FAITH or for that matter solidarity thru violence?

Regina said...

I write hoping that the several cries for justice by so many around the world, would finally open the eyes of our Respected President and Prime Minister, to the atrocities happening in Orissa. We boast of a country that has diverse religions and languages, unity in diversity, chant Vande Matharam, sing the Jana Gana Mana (has anyone actually listened to the words), all this and then we have a set of Monsters in Orissa living so close to the capital and committing inhuman acts. Are the POLITICIANS blind to the crimes that these people are doing. We have a freedom to religion, its our constitutional right. Now when one is not allowed to practice the right, does it mean we can take it up at the Supreme Court. Where do we go with our pleas? Send out the Army to that forsaken place if it must be done, but do something!!! Its just not about religion, its gone beyond that, its about humanity. How can you harm another human? Where is the law? Even policemen are killed, what kind of a leader do we have in Orissa.

bob said...

Shame to our country and i blame for all our leaders who cannot take any decision on what to in this situation,They are simply giving speeches but not acting,i feel it is all politically motivated using religious war and killing innocent lives.Any religious organisation who goes for violence needs to be ban and there leaders to be strictly punished.

Anonymous said...

what is happing is not good? I am sure that lord will punish those people!!!

Anonymous said...


8 "You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the LORD is at hand.
9 Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!
10 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the LORD, as an exampleof suffering and patience.
11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the LORD - that the LORD is very compassionate and merciful.
16 confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. - James 5:8-11;16

10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kind of evil against you falsely for MY sake.
12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
- Matthew 5:10-12

"12 And behold,I am coming quickly, and My reward is with ME, to give to every one according to his work.
13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.
14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.
15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoraland murderers and idolaters and whoever loves and practices a lie. - Revelation 22:12-15