09/29/2008, 00.00
INDIA
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Orissa: More Christian homes set on fire, three bodies fished out of river

by Nirmala Carvalho
Bodies belong to a group that visited a village to immunise residents. Plan to make the state Christian-free entails different stages. International disinformation campaign is underway.
Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) – Three bodies were recovered from a river in Kandhamal, the district in Orissa state hit by a wave of anti-Christian violence for more than a month now. The bodies belong to a couple and a woman reported missing after they visited a local village to administer immunisation. Elsewhere Hindu radicals continue their rampage in areas like Raikia (Padrikia and Mondasoro), Tikabali and Didrabadi (near Daringbadi).

“The situation is unbearable. A systematic plan to wipe out Christian life is underway, killing people and destroying their property,” a local source told AsiaNews. “Nothing prepared us for this.”

 Fr Nithiya Executive Secretary, CBCI Commission for Justice, Peace and Development, confirms that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal (BD) are carrying out forced conversion to the last Christian.

“This plan is not only politically motivated but is part of a scheme to wipe Christians off the face of Orissa,” the priest said. He described in detail the pattern the plan follows.

1.      First Christian Dalits and Tribals are threatened if they do not convert to Hinduism. Once a village has been selected, fundamentalist groups announce ahead of time the date before which residents must convert.

2.      Christians are told they must bring back their relatives who fled to refugee camps or anywhere else before the conversion deadline expires.

3.      On conversion day Christians must sign a document in which they acknowledge that they freely chose to convert. If they refuse to sign they are tortured and killed.

4.      Even of they become Hindu they must still pay a fine of 1,000-1,500 rupees (20-30 US dollars).

5.      As a token of their re-conversion they must smash Christian statues, vandalise churches and even kill those Christians who have resisted forced re-conversion.

6.      Those who do not become Hindus are robbed of all their worldly possessions (homes, land and more) which are given to their Hindu neighbours. Everything left over is set on fire.

7.      NGOs and humanitarian workers are not allowed into the forest and the refugee camps where Christians have found shelter. Currently there are some 25,000 people in 17 such camps. Only doctors are allowed in to provide medical care but they are under close supervision for fear that they might engage in “forced conversions” to Christianity.

8.      Both the VHP and the BD are hunting down priests, nuns and pastors as well as their families in order to kill them.

9.      All the violence is taking place in broad daylight in cities and main roads with the police standing idly by. In Orissa fundamentalist groups have total immunity.

Whilst all this is happening state authorities are saying that all is under control and that everything is fine.

Little news is getting out of Orissa; whatever information is making its way out it is being manipulated.

India’s national newspapers and even the BBC have reported that Orissa tribal associations like the Kui Samaj are trying to defend the rights of poor Tribals against the arrogance of Christians who are stealing their land and threatening their leaders.

“First of all no one has pointed out that the Kui Samaj is not any association. This group is linked to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Bajrang Dal, i.e. the world of Hindu fundamentalism,” said a priest from Orissa.

“What is actually a form of caste warfare is being described as an interethnic clash. Upper class Hindus cannot accept that Christian Dalits and Tribals are improving socially and economically. What is more, local merchants are lending a hand to non-Dalit Hindus by supplying them with the kerosene and petrol they use to set Christian properties on fire.”

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