08/27/2010, 00.00
INDIA

Kandhamal: slain former leader of Hindu converted to Christianity

by Nirmala Carvalho
The body of Biskesan Pradhan was found this morning by police near Tiangia (Orissa), a village hit by anti-Christian pogrom of 2008. Former leader of Hindu extremist organization, the man had converted to Christianity three years ago and attended the Baptist Church. Orissa Christians denounce continuing cases of forced conversions by Hindu extremists.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A former Hindu converted to Christianity was killed this morning near Tiangia, a village in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa) hit by anti-Christian pogrom of August 2008. Police found the man's body beside a stream in the forest and have already launched an investigation. Biskesan Pradhan, 47, was a former leader of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and had converted to Christianity about three years ago, becoming a member of the Baptist Church. His murder coincided with the publication of the results of the National People's Tribunal (NTP), an initiative that 22 to 24 August in New Delhi was attended by victims, activists and judges, in order to report cases of violence of the pogroms of 2008, which so far have gone unpunished.

Sajan George, president of Global Christian Council of Indian Christians (Gcic) says: "The news of the brutal murder of Biskesan Pradhan is deeply distressing. We condemn this act made against the former extremist Hindu who became a Christian. "

Citing the results of the NTP, presented today, the activist points out that the jury has reported a succession of forced conversions carried out by Hindu extremists in Orissa, even after the events of 2008. "The fanatics - he says – use  torture, intimidation, murder, economic boycotts and public humiliation to convert or re-convert the population,."

Sajan George, says the violence that began August 23, 2008 broke the climate of peace and harmony present in Orissa. He calls on central government, local authorities and civil society to engage with all Christians to stop these criminal acts and continue to protect religious minorities.
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