Rediff, June 23, 2000
Vandals damage graves in AP cemetery
Miscreants entered a Christian cemetery and damaged graves at Rajahmundry in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, police said.
Using crowbars and shovels, the unidentified miscreants dug up a portion of about 45 graves, damaging the cross atop each, District Superintendent of Police A B Venkateshwar Rao said. The cemetery, which houses nearly 10,000 graves, was located adjacent to St Paul's East Parish Church, the police officer said.
No arrests have been made so far.
The incident comes on the heels of attacks on churches at Ongole and Tadepalligudem earlier this month, which triggered protests from the Christian community.
Asian Age April 24, 2000
Bajrang attacks Christians in Agra
By Our Correspondent Hyderabad, April 23
Less than a fortnight after a Christian priest and two nuns were assaulted at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, a Christian group from Hyderabad was attacked and Biblical literature was set on fire by the Bajrang Dal activists on the outskirts of Agra.
The Bajrang Dal lodged a first information report with the Jagdishpura police station alleging that the 14-member Christian group, which had come to Agra on Good Friday, was trying to convert villagers by offering them money, the police officials said.
In Hyderabad, it was confirmed that a delegation of the Hebron Church located at Golconda crossroads had gone to Agra. Samuel, a pastor with Hebron Church, told The Asian Age that they were still awaiting details of the Agra incident. We were informed via telephone on Sunday morning that members of the Hebron were confined in the police station for more than an hour before being let off.
According to his information, the police told the members of the church not to carry out their activities as it might create trouble and then let them off after an hour.
In Agra, the police sources said the Christian delegation was arrested but later released on the intervention of deputy inspector-general of police (Agra Range) Arvind Jain.
Dharmendra Sharma, Baj-rang Dal co-convener for Brij Pradesh, said the Biblical literature was set aflame by some volunteers of the Dal and residents of Nagla Ajita on Saturday night. The sources said the Hebron Church delegation has also lodged a complaint with the police alleging that about 20-30 people surrounded their van, snatched the Biblical literature and then burnt it.
Some members of the group were also beaten up and an attempt was made to set the van on fire, the complaint lodged by the group said.
Organiser, November 21, 1999, Vol. LI, No. 17
Supreme Court of India bans Conversions
" Charging the Christian missionaries with violating the Constitution of India, he revealed that a Supreme Court judgment in 1977 had clearly declared conversion as an unconstitutional activity holding that the right to propagate religion didn't constitute the right to convert people of one religion to another."
International Christian Concern, Press Release February 2, 1999
MISSIONARY AND TWO YOUNG SONS KILLED IN INDIA
The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported that an Australian missionary and his two young sons were killed in India by members of a militant Hindu group.
Mr. Graham Stewart Staines, a 58 year old Australian missionary, and his two sons, Philip (age 10) and Timothy (age 8) were asleep inside their vehicle when it was doused with gasoline and set ablaze.
The attack took place in Manoharpur village in the District of Keonjhar in the State of Orissa. The militants believed to be responsible is the radical Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The RSS is believed to have been responsible for a number of attacks against Christians and churches in recent months.
Mr. Staines and his wife have been faithfully serving as missionaries with the Evangelical Missionary Society of Mayurbhanj for more than 30 years, working mostly among lepers.
The government reports that 49 people were arrested in connection with the killings and are from Bajrang Dal. Police also have announced a $600 award for help in capturing Dara Singh, a Bajrang Dal leader believed to be behind the attack. The group has in the past been blamed for Hindu-Muslim clashes.
In recent months, pastors and Catholic priests in India have been stripped and paraded naked, Bibles have been burned, churches have been razed to the ground or ransacked and set ablaze, Catholic nuns have been gang-raped and Christian institutions have been attacked. So far, ninety churches have been reported destroyed in recent months.
International Christian Concern is urging the United States government to condemn India's government for not doing enough to end the violence against Christians in India or to provide safeguards for the Christian minority.
THE HINDU, Tuesday, September 29, 1998, page 13, col. c
VHP justifies attack on missionaries
By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, Sept. 28. An attempt is being made by the fanatic fringe in the RSS to virtually justify the savage attacks on missionaries on the ground that they represented 'anti-national forces' which were working against Hindu interests. This section has demanded that the Centre must throw out of the country all those who 'tempt Hindus' to convert to Christianity and who through their schools spread anti-Hindu sentiment.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an RSS outfit, today stated that the recent incidents of violence against the Christian missionaries in Jhabua and Baghpat were the result of 'anger of patriotic Hindu youth against anti-national forces'. Virtually justifying the attacks, the VHP has demanded that these missionaries be asked ``to pack up and leave the country''.
This sharply-worded statement against the missionaries comes at a time when the country has been shocked by the violence of the attack on them. In a statement, the VHP central secretary and former BJP MP, Mr. B. L. Sharma `Prem', said that 'the assault on the missionaries in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, and the violence and loot against them in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, was the direct result of conversion of Hindus to Christianity by the Christian priests'. And as if to drive home his point, he also charged the Congress Party government in Madhya Pradesh with being 'unnecessarily energetic' in dealing with the incident and 'giving it undue importance.' The VHP alleged that 'the Congress Government is behaving as if India is still under colonial rule.'
In an aggressive and challenging tone, the statement virtually warned not only the missionaries but the Congress and other parties as well. 'They, the Congress Party, may close its eyes to the black deeds of the missionaries, to their efforts to convert Hindus, but we in the VHP will not shut our eyes to the activities of these traitors,' Mr. Sharma has said.
The VHP, is in fact the mainstream organisation for carrying forward the RSS ideology at the grassroots, for preparing the ground, testing the ideas, making them popular, before the political wing, the BJP, steps in. That was exactly what happened in the Babri Masjid-Ram temple controversy. It was the VHP which spearheaded the agitation, got various Hindu priests together on a platform, built the public mood, before the BJP stepped in to encash this as votes. The VHP statement on the Christian missionaries thus reflects the RSS view on the matter, for the RSS, like the BJP, has not yet given up its demand related to the Gyan Vapi mosque in Kashi and the Idgah in Mathura - that these should be handed over to the 'Hindus'.
Indian Christians Index