Friday, May 4, 2007

India: How far is Jaipur from Malatya?

Date: Friday 4 May 2007
Subj: India: How far is Jaipur from Malatya?
To: World Evangelical Alliance Religious Liberty News & Analysis
From: WEA RLC Principal Researcher and Writer, Elizabeth Kendal

INDIA: HOW FAR IS JAIPUR FROM MALATYA?

In modern, progressive, secular Turkey, anti-Christian hatred has been whipped up by Islamist and nationalist forces and cultivated and perpetuated in the media, often by men and women of influence seeking political mileage. Unfortunately the hate insurgency has not been neutralised by a truth counterinsurgency, and so hate - a highly destructive force - has been permitted to advance. And we have seen the consequences.

In Turkey expatriate Catholic, Turkish-Armenian Orthodox, and expatriate and Turkish Protestants have been victims of fatal hate crimes over the past 15 months. Christians and Christianity have been so thoroughly demonised that zealous, patriotic religious youths have been deluded into believing that if they do their country a favour and slay a Christian then they will be able to literally get away with murder.

The brutality of the 18 April torture and murder of three Christians in Malatya, Turkey (link 1) has left many Turks shocked and ashamed. Finally there is now some will for a decisive (albeit difficult and possibly costly) truth, tolerance, secularism and religious liberty counterinsurgency.

Modern, progressive, secular India, which is treading virtually the exact same path, is only a step away from having its own "Malatya" experience (that is: an act of hate-fueled anti-Christian violence so disgusting and horrific it sends shockwaves through the nation).

ANTI-CHRISTIAN HATE CAMPAIGN PERSISTS UNCHALLENGED
and JAIPUR PASTOR BASHED FOR THE TV CAMERAS


On 24 April, Compass Direct published a report by Vishal Arora, entitled "Hate Campaign Adds Fuel to Persecution in India". (Link 2)

This report details some of the anti-Christian hate that India is being submerged in as Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) forces continue to spew forth anti-Christian propaganda, lies, disinformation, incitement and hatred, all for political gain.

Arora mentions the CD produced by the organisers of the Shabri Kumbh Mela, held in Dangs, Gujarat, in February 2006. The CD titled "Shri Shabri Kumbh 2006: Spirituality along with the Wave of Patriotism" has been widely circulated, distributed and openly sold in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra and in the north-eastern states.

Anhad (link 3), a non-profit organisation that has admitted a petition to the Supreme Court of India seeking action against the Hindutva forces that distributed the CDs, claims: "In the CD, the narrator, while talking about Hindu tradition and culture, makes constant references to the evil forces and foreign powers that are out to destroy the Hindu religion whilst simultaneously flashing pictures of churches and Cross on the screen as if to insinuate that the Christian community is the evil force and the foreign power that the Hindu community has to reckon with."

Arora notes that on the CD cover there is a caricature of a headless Christian priest wearing a cassock and holding a cross. Anhad comments, "In place of the head is a question mark symbol. The caption on the top of this picture literally translates into 'Church: in the name of service.'" As Arora notes, the Hindutva slogan, 'Hindu Jago, Christi Bhagao' (Arise Hindus, throw out the Christians) represents the overall sentiment of the Hindutva anti-Christian hate campaign.

According to Arora, Hindutva hate material typically brands Christianity and Islam as alien religions and a threat to India. "It alleges that Indian Christians use foreign funds to convert Hindus by force and fraudulent means.

"The hate material casts doubts on the patriotism and loyalty of Christians to the country, questions the roots of Christianity, attacks the tenets of the faith and targets priests, nuns and Christian institutions and social work.

"Hindu extremists use many means to spread hate against Christians on a regular basis. Media used include hate speeches at rallies, distribution of pamphlets and CDs, publication of reports in local newspapers in vernacular languages, publication of books, e-mail campaigns using e-groups, uploading of videos on the Web, and websites.

"The RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] is said to spew hatred through its wide network of 'shakhas' or daily gatherings. According to the RSS, there were about 50,000 'shakhas' in 34,732 locations across the country as of March 2005.

"Additionally, the RSS has more than 17,500 'one-teacher schools' known as 'Ekal Vidyalayas', in 20 states. These schools allegedly teach hate against Christians in the guise of providing education and preventing 'conversion' of tribal people to Christianity. The children of these schools are exposed to Hindu symbols and deities, saints and patriots apart from the regular syllabus.

"The Hindu extremist 'Dharma Raksha Samiti' (Association for Protection of Religion) has posted an anti-conversion documentary in English on the Web.
An Invasion through Conversion Part 1
An Invasion through Conversion Part 2

"Another extremist group, the Kashmiri Hindu Liberation Army, says on its website http://www.hindurashtra.org that Hindus should 'militarize' and 'industrialize' themselves to 'survive'. 'Hinduize the politics and militarize the Hindus. . . Change of religion means change of nation,' the website states, advocating establishment of a single-party, militarized government based on the divine laws of Hindu Dharma(Religion), and Hindutva nationalist ideology." (Compass Direct, India archives: link 2)

JAIPUR PASTOR BASHED FOR TV CAMERAS

Violent persecution of Christians in India has been escalating in both frequency and intensity as the Hindutva forces claw back their lost political territory, as a read through the Compass Direct's India Archives will demonstrate.

On Sunday 29 April, a mob of some twenty militant Hindu youths (Bajrang dal activists) attacked Pastor Walter Masih (or Massey) in his home in Jaipur, Rajasthan, where he leads a small home fellowship. The attack took place in front of Pastor Masih's wife and child and what appears to be an invited television crew.

According to The Hindu, Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot described the incident as a "very serious matter" and demanded the immediate arrest of the culprits. "Vishwa Hindu Parishad workers have once again taken law into their own hands in the name of stopping religious conversions in the State and this is condemnable," he said. (Link 4)

The following news report from CNN-IBN contains a video of the IBN news broadcast which features excerpts of the filmed attack:
"Pastor attack: Media under scanner"
CNN-IBN, 30 April 2007

As noted in the above report, Indian authorities are looking into the role the media played in the attack. Christians in Rajasthan are calling for a full CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) investigation into the incident.

Another CNN-IBN report poses the question, "Indian media intolerant?" This news broadcast contains two videos from the CNN-IBN program, "India 360".
"Indian media intolerant?" 1 May 2007

Surely the question at the heart of this issue is: What is it that makes youths not only so hateful and violent, but so convinced that their violence is acceptable, justifiable and even heroic, that they would proudly and confidently commit their criminal assault upon a peaceful family before a TV crew for national broadcast?

How far is Jaipur from Malatya?

Not far at all.

Elizabeth Kendal

Links

1) Turkey: German Seminary investigates Malatya murders
by Elizabeth Kendal WEA RLC, 1 May 2007.

2) Compass Direct India archives

3) Anhad (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy)
http://www.anhadindia.org/

4) Christian preacher attacked in Jaipur
The Hindu. Monday 30 May 2007
http://www.hindu.com/2007/04/30/stories/2007043005341200.htm
See also: http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=9129&size=A