01/20/2011, 00.00
Send to a friend

Orissa: police arrest two young Christians to protect Hindu thief

by Santosh Digal
The young Hindu, who stole a locket from one of the two men, accused them of trying to convert him in order to defend himself. Police arrested the two Christians without evidence. For the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, the event is a clear example of the ongoing persecution of Christians by police and Hindus.

G.Udayagiri (AsiaNews) – Orissa police detained two young Christians, Bijres Digal e Joseph Digal, after they were arguing with a young Hindu man, Phiroj Behera, who had snatched a locket with a crucifix from one of them. The two Christians, one Catholic, one Protestant, are currently free on bail.

The incident occurred on 10 January in the village of Bodimunda (Kandhamal), scene of anti-Christian pogroms in 2008. Local Catholics and Protestants responded to it by complaining of continued harassment by local law enforcement.

Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, slammed the arrest of the two young men. Speaking to AsiaNews, he said the event is a clear example of the ongoing persecution of Christians by police and Hindus.

In order to defend himself from charges of theft and assault, the young Hindu drew the attention of local extremists and the police by shouting that the two Christians were trying to convert him to Christianity. Police quickly proceeded to arrest Bijres and Joseph without any evidence or even formal complaint filed, only on the basis of the charges made by Phiroj.  Only later, did Hindu villagers file a written report with police and the case was registered against the two Christian men.

Some Hindu extremists have also demanded the two pay a fine valued at US$ 120 just for talking to a Hindu. Local customs do not allow Christians to address Hindus.

Pradiman Digal, a Catholic leader in Bodimunda village, knows how police operates. “We are aware that police harass Christians and biased against them,” he said.

According to Brother Marcus, a Monfront missionary, the police never defend Christians. In Kandhamal, the district administration is also insensitive to Christians’ issues and problems. “Law enforcement sides with Hindus against Christians,” he said.

Nevertheless, a Christian delegation will meet with local authorities in the next few days to discuss the case involving Bijres and Joseph.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
"We are optimistic," says Paul Bhatti as Rimsha Masih's bail hearing postponed to Friday
Church leads the way in helping Vietnam cope with its educational emergency
11/03/2016 17:00
For activist, Jharkhand teacher’s claim she was fired for refusing to convert is false
05/12/2018 15:48
Nun celebrates first vows, arrested under Chhattisgarh’s anti-conversion legislation
08/06/2023 15:34
Two Korean Sisters in prison on conversion charges
27/10/2021 13:09


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”