Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations FIACONA
 Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations  FIACONA
   
2019 NEWS ITEM
   

June 6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Officials Demolish a Christian School, Hostel – and Founder’s Home – in Eastern India. Demolition crew beats director and his parents. Authorities seized 12 tearful, fatherless children from a Christian ministry in eastern India last month after local officials demolished the ministry’s school and hostel, sources said. After Hindu extremists persuaded the district collector to demolish the hostel and school serving 250 students, child protection personnel and police on May 21 seized the six orphans and six other children whose fathers were killed by communist guerrillas known as Naxalites, said Vijay Kumar Pusuru, who founded the school near the village of Lichapeta in Odisha state. Read more

June 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruben, a nine-year-old boy, was arrested, stripped, beaten and held in prison for three days when he was six only because he is a Christian. Both of his parents  are blind and his father is a Christian pastor in Madhya Pradesh. In January 2016 the child, his parents and the tiny Christian community of Dehar, a settlement with only 12 residents, were attacked by an angry mob that devastated their place of worship. After the assault, all the members of the community were taken to the police station and subjected to torture.  Read more.

June 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Killer of Australian Missionary Graham Stain, Pratap Sarangi, appointed by Prime Minister Modi in his Cabinet as Minister for Dairy, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Small Enterprises.

A largely unknown figure, Sarangi is a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Odisha (Orissa). In the past, the “new Union minister was the coordinator of the Bajrang Dal when Graham Staines and his two kids were burnt alive” in 1999, said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). The Bajrang Dal is a right-wing Hindu fundamentalist group.

On the night of 22-23 January 1999, Hindu extremists set fire to the station wagon in which the Australian missionary and his two sons, Philip and Timothy (9 and 7 respectively), were sleeping, in Manoharpur, a village in Keonjhar district (Odisha). Read more

June 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Killer of Australian Missionary Graham Stain, Pratap Sarangi, appointed by Prime Minister Modi in his Cabinet as Minister for Dairy, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Small Enterprises. BBC Reports.
He was the leader of the Bajrang Dal, a hardline rightwing group, when a Hindu mob brutally killed Australian Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two children in 1999. Christian community leaders accused the Bajrang Dal of the killings, but an official inquiry found no evidence that any one group was behind the attack.
After a lengthy trial, Dara Singh, a man with links to the group, and 12 others were convicted in 2003. But the high court in Orissa commuted a death sentence for Singh two years later. Go to BBC

May 24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STATEMENT: FIACONA is Deeply Concerned About the Election Results in India: The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) is deeply concerned about the future of Indian Christians and the future of Indian democracy in the wake of just concluded national elections. In a world that is getting more and more polarized on religious grounds, the return to power of a Hindu extremist party is not surprising. Though all Hindu voters did not vote for extremist views of the Hindu party, many have. The assertion of extremist Hindus to claim a multi religious, multi-cultural and multi-linguistic country like the Union of India to their view of exclusive Hindu ideology is certainly troubling. Now this election has further deepened that to a crisis level. Read more

May 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court orders Kandhamal Christian freed on bail after 10 years in prison.

Gornath Chalanseth, one of seven Christians jailed for life for the murder of a Hindu swami in the Kandhamal district of Odisha state in eastern India, has been freed on bail by India’s Supreme Court yesterday, May 21. The seven – three of whom are Dalits, the other four tribals – continue to maintain their innocence. However, only Chalanseth’s bail application was filed in the Supreme Court – after Odisha High Court had rejected it for a second time last December. Once given bail, there is no deadline to return to jail unless ordered by the Supreme Court. Read more

May 22

Village leaders in eastern India prohibited five Christian families from working on their farms or walking on the main road before district authorities this month revoked the order, sources said.

Leaders of Banhardi village, in Jharkhand state’s Latehar District, told the five families in April to either convert back to their ancestral Sarna religion or face punishment, Christian leaders said. When the Christians refused to renounce their faith, the village on April 10 issued a decree instructing that their farmland be confiscated and prohibiting them from interacting with anyone, fetching water and buying or selling, they said. Read more

May 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire at Historic Church Building on Easter Sunday. Police advise pastor to avoid mentioning fire in complaint.

It was a different kind of Easter celebration this year for Pastor Anil Juit of Maranatha Full Gospel Church in eastern India.

Opening the door of the historic church building in Arrah, in Bihar state’s Bhojpur District, on Easter Sunday (April 21), he found a gaping hole in the back wall, and everything inside had been gathered up and burned in a heap, he said. The mats the congregation usually sat on for services were charred in the ash heap. As he made his way out at the end of the service, Pastor Juit noticed that someone had written “Jai Sri Ram [Hail, lord Ram]” on the outside wall of the church building. “It is evident from the slogan that this is the work of some Hindu radicals,” he told Morning Star News, adding that he suspected the damage was done the previous night. Read more

April 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fact-finding team that probed the lynching of Christian Adivasis in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand has questioned the local police’s inaction and opposition parties’ silence. “The actions of the local police raise several questions. While the victims kept saying that they were carving an ox that had died, the police filed an FIR against them and 20-25 unnamed persons of their village on charges of cow slaughter,” says a statement from the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (grand council of Jharkhand people’s right) Earlier on April 10, a mob lynched to death Prakash Lakda of Jurmu village in Gumla district’s Dumri block. While the victim was an Adivasi, his attackers were men from the Sahu community of neighboring Jairagi village, says the fact-finding team. Read More

April 16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mumbai High Court has ordered two Indian Union territories to restore Good Friday, which this year is celebrated on April 19, as a public holiday. The fact that Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Dnh) and Daman and Diu, both former Portuguese colonies on the west coast of the country, had canceled the holiday caused deep sorrow not only in the local Catholic community, but throughout India. The judges who dealt with the case are the president of the tribunal Pradeep Nandrajog and N.M. Jamdar. They accepted the petition presented by Mr. Anthony Francisco Duarte of Moti Daman, representing the Indian Church and the archdiocese of Goa and Daman. The defense of Christians was instead taken by Dr. Haresh Jagtiani, lawyer of the ADF India association (Alliance Defending Freedom). Read more

April 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Deprivation, Beatings and Jail as Christians Suffer in Jharkhand,
Hindu extremists influence those who practice tribal religion. A longstanding Hindu extremist practice of turning animistic villagers against Christians has intensified as elections get underway in India today, with tribal villagers taught that Christianity is anti-Indian. Upset about tribal Adivasi relatives leaving the animistic Sarna religion to become Christians, 60-year-old Sanpitha Majhi attacked a 28-year-old Christian mother he believed had “forcefully converted” his daughter and son-in-law in eastern India’s Jharkhand state. Bale Murmu was washing utensils in an outdoor area of her home on April 1 and did not notice Majhi, her neighbor, coming toward her, pastor Girish Chander Marandi said. “Majhi with all his force pressed her breasts and pushed her to the floor,” Pastor Marandi told Morning Star News. “While he was kicking her in her stomach, his wife, Gouri Majhi, brought a wooden stick, and the couple beat her black and blue.” Read more

March 29

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Terrifying Attack in Uttar Pradesh, India, Host of House Church in Hiding. Hindu extremists keep Christians from medical care. Nearly two months after Hindu extremists in India humiliated, beat and forced Christians to praise a Hindu god, the host of the house church has yet to return to his home. Ranjeet Kumar Gautam is still in hiding after more than 20 Hindu extremists in Chapar village, Sultanpur District, Uttar Pradesh state on Feb. 7 burst into his home, beat the 39 adults of the fellowship, kept them from medical care and stood outside the police station threatening to kill them if they filed a complaint. Read more

March 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Noted economist Jean Dreze was arrested by Indian police earlier in the state of Jharkhand. “Jean Dreze is a saint-economist, a potential Nobel awardee who lived in slums, written and done more for the poor than any economist, shunned all power and glory, took up Indian citizenship, is a pacifist. Nothing can be more shameful than arresting him,” tweeted Yogendra Yadav, a renowned psephologist and political commentator based in New Delhi. The Jharkhand Police detained and then released Dreze after he refused to sign a bond and declare that he had no grievances against the government. Read more

March 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A group of Christians was attacked in West Bengal by Hindu fanatics during a prayer meeting at the home of a Church member
Rev Anand Hari, pastor of the Full Gospel Evangelical Church, who was leading the prayer, was severely beaten. He is now in hospital in serious condition. The attack took place yesterday in Panch Gachia, a village in Paschim Bardhaman district, around 7 am (local time). "The attackers did not spare even women," Shibu Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief, lamented. In fact, in addition to the pastor, "there were eight women and two teenagers....Red more

March 21

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Police in India File Charges against Pastors for Refuting False Account of Attack, Sources Say Teenage Christian girl beaten unconscious. Three pastors in western India have been criminally charged in retaliation for refuting a false account of a Hindu extremist attack on six Christians that left a teenage girl unconscious, sources said.
Three of the six Christians beaten in Maharashtra state this month were also charged in retaliation for reporting the assault that left them with injuries requiring hospital treatment, said pastor Pandharinath Bhagya Gowri, one of the accused church leaders. Read more

March 18

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian bishops seek to postpone polling on Maundy Thursday. Catholic bishops have urged authorities to change the April 18 date for parliamentary elections in India’s Karnataka and Tamil Nadu states as Maundy Thursday falls on that day. The federal Election Commission has announced a seven-phase schedule for national elections running from April 11 to May 19. While all 39 parliamentary constituencies of Tamil Nadu are scheduled to go to the polls on April 18, voting in Karnataka is set for April 18 and 23. Read more

March 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Indian territories scrap Good Friday holiday. Msgr. Mascarenhas: Very serious.  For the first time in the country's history, two Indian territories have abolished Good Friday as a national holiday. These are Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Dnh) and Daman and Diu, both former Portuguese colonies on the west coast of the country. For Msgr. Theodore Mascarenhas, general secretary of the Indian Bishops' Conference (CBCI), "is very sad". He told AsiaNews: " This is very very sad. A clear discrimination is being practiced by the Administrator. We appeal to all including the Administrator of these centrally administered territories to respect the sentiments of the people and to avoid their divisive methods". Read more

March 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evangelical network reports increase of Christian persecution in 2019. Reported cases of persecution and hate crimes against Christians in India have steadily increased by about 57 percent in the first two months of 2019, an advocacy group has warned. The Evangelical Fellowship of India, the national alliance of evangelical Christians with over 65,000 associated churches, has sounded the alarm about the increasing frequency of attacks against Christians in India, the persecution watchdog outlet Morning Star News reports. Read more

March 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Churches Deprived of Their Worship Buildings in Tamil Nadu, India

Churches in Tamil Nadu, India that had never experienced opposition now find Hindu extremists forcing them out of their places of worship, sources said. In one case Hindu extremists called praying women prostitutes and threatened to kill them; in another case near Chennai, the state capital, police went door-to-door with a radical Hindu telling people not to meet for worship; in a third case, the owner of the property where the church meets ordered them to vacate after opponents set a fire inside. Read more

March 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

Report Shows 57 Percent Jump in Aggression against Christians in India. Hate and targeted violence up first two months of year.
Cases of hate and violence against Christians in India increased 57 percent the first two months of this year compared with the same period last year, an advocacy group reported.Cases include the murders of one Christian in Odisha state and another in Chhattisgarh state, both in February. Read more

March 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian man has been found beheaded in Odisha. Local church members believe was an anti-Christian attack, dismissing a police claim that he was killed by Maoist rebels. The body of 40-year-old Anant Ram Gand was found on Feb. 11 on a road in Bhenas village of Nabarangapur district. Gand is survived by his wife, four girls and a boy. He and his family became Christians three years ago but local Hindu villagers opposed their faith. They forced the family to live on the outskirts of the village and at times were manhandled Read more

March 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

325 Hate Crimes Against Christians in India in 2018: The state of Utter Pradesh (UP) witnessed 94 incidents in total against Christians, between the months of September and December 2018 alone. Tjhe state of Tamil Nadu (TN) registered 40 incidents while Telangana stood third with 24. Statres of Bihar and Jharkhand recorded 17 and 16 incidents respectively and Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh witnessed 12 incidents each, the report showed. UP and TN together saw 81 incidents of stopping and disruption of Church worship services and prayer meetings, the most commonly recorded incidents. Read more

Feb 27

 

 

 

 

India sees rise in public lynchings of Christians. Violent attacks including public lynchings against Christians in India are reportedly becoming increasingly common, with international NGOs and the country’s Catholic bishops raising their voices in protest against mob violence. Read the story

Feb 26

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Christians Killed in Separate States in India

A Christian in Chhattisgarh state, India who endured opposition for three years was killed on Feb. 12, a day after a convert who faced persecution in neighboring Odisha state was slain. In each case, villagers angry at the Christians for converting were said to have influenced Maoist guerrillas to kill the Christians. The Maoists, known as Naxalites, may have had other reasons for killing the two men, though they also opposed their new faith, sources said. Read more

Feb 22

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian convert killed and left on the road, beheaded. On 11 February, Anant Ram Gand, 40, was taken from his home in the village of Raigarh Tehsil, in the district of Nabarangapur, Odisha, by three men who killed him and left his decapitated body in the middle of the road. At the time, his wife Sukbati, 38, was away with their four daughters and Anant was at home alone with his 6-year-old son. Since his conversion to Christianity nine months ago, Anant and his family had been harassed by the villagers. Read more

Feb 19

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Mother Facing False Accusation in India Is Transferred Far from Home, Sources Say. Mob rule increasingly common in world’s largest democracy. Days after Hindu extremists in northern India marched in protest to file a false claim against a Christian mother, her government employer transferred her to a district more than 100 miles away, sources said. Members of a Hindu-awakening movement in Baddi, Himachal Pradesh state on Wednesday (Feb. 13) staged a protest against conversions to Christianity that began at the headquarters of the Hindu Sanghatan, a coalition of Hindu extremist groups, and continued as they shouted angry slogans against Christians. Read more

Feb 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Situation for India’s religious minorities is at tipping point’ – report. A report by a religious freedom watchdog shows a dramatic increase in the number of attacks on Christians and Muslims in India in the last four years and “the situation … is at a tipping point”. The number of reported incidents in the first three months of 2018 was greater than the total number of attacks in the whole of the year 2014, according to the report “We’re Indians Too” by Open Doors. This year India entered for the first time the top 10 of the same organisation’s World Watch List, an index of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian. The report’s incident analysis shows that since Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, the number of violent acts against Christians, Muslims and tribal Dalits (members of the India’s lowest caste) have increased. Read more

Feb 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

A statue of the Virgin Mary was set on fire in Madhya Pradesh, in the village of Ishgar, which falls under the diocese of Jhabua. Sajan K George says that the fire "took place on 3 February last. The statue of Mary was found burnt in the grotto of the parish of St. Joseph, about 10 km away from the archbishop's house". The Christian community, he adds, "is very disturbed and its religious sentiment is deeply wounded". Read more.

Feb 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legal Struggle of Doctor Reflects Wider Harassment of Christians in India. Hindu extremist government reminded that practicing one’s faith is not unlawful.Emergency medicine doctor Christo Thomas Philip was returning with his family to his native India from a medical conference in Greece when immigration officials at Delhi’s Indira Ghandi International Airport took him into custody. His deportation from India on that day, April 26, 2016, came after working for three years treating destitute people on the verge of death from snakebites, HIV, diphtheria, tuberculosis and heart failure, among other conditions, in Raxaul, a remote area of eastern India’s Bihar state. He was planning to return to his work there at the emergency care unit of Duncan Hospital. Read more

Feb 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magazine affiliated with Hindu extremists asks India to derecognize Vatican. An Indian magazine has asked the federal government to derecognize the Vatican as a state for the Church’s alleged interference in the country’s politics. Church’s political interference should make Indian government sit up and formally take note, says an article swarajyamag.com published on February 4. The Indian government “must either issue a cease and desist demarche to the Vatican’s representative in Delhi, or derecognize the Vatican as a state altogether. Read more

Feb 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hindu Extremists Pressure Convert to File False Charge against a Pastor in India. The pastor is facing criminal charges even though the complainant later denied allegations against the church leader of luring him to convert, sources said. Police in Rupaidiha village, Uttar Pradesh state on Jan. 28 arrested 40-year-old pastor Dharmendra Singh on a charge of “alluring to convert” and two related charges – outraging religious feelings and promoting enmity. Read more

Jan 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At least 98 Christians belonging to 23 tribal families have been "reconverted" to Hinduism in Tripura on Jan. 20, a far-right Hindu group The Hindu Jargan Manch claimed. Uttam Dey, president of the outfit said that, mostly those migrant workers from Bihar and Jharkhand, were converted to Christianity in 2010. "It is as if the lost family members had returned home," Dey added, according to Hindustan Times. The mass conversion ceremony was sponsored by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP). Read more

Jan 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catholic Priest Arrested Over Teen's Suicide: A Catholic priest has been arrested on Jan. 15 on charges over the suicide of a teenage girl in Madhya Pradesh. Fr Prakash Damor of Jhabua Diocese was arrested more than a week after the schoolgirl was found hanging at her village home in Ranapur in MP, leaving a suicide note saying the 33-year-old priest forced her to change religion and marry him.Fr Rocky Shah, Diocesan spokesman told ucanews.com that the church officials believe the priest was framed and arrested for no fault of his own.
"He will be exonerated in a court of law," he said. Read more

Jan 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

four Christians arrested for 'forced conversions'Police in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) arrested and then released four Christians, Mr. Sonu Kumar, Mr. Rakesh Maurya, Mr. Satnam and Mr. Shribaghwan aka Munna, on charges of forced conversions. They were detained in Kasimaba of Ghazipur district of UP. Mr. Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), denounced "the detention" by police. Though the incident occurred a few days ago, it came to light only today. Read more
   
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