Photos courtesy of GFA. To view complete slide shows and read news updates, click here. Update 10/13/08: Voice of the Martyrs reports that more than 70,000 Christians have been displaced and forced to live in refugee camps to date. Where is the outcry? As is typical, the U.N. does nothing.
As of October 10, 2008, the violence has continued unabated and has spread to Uttar Pradesh, Jhakarthand and Bihar. In a video clip e-mailed in early September to Gospel for Asia supporters, founder Rev. K.P. Yohannan, visibly shaken, said that the current wave of violence is the worst persecution of Christians in India that he has witnessed in his lifetime. (See here):
A fresh wave of violence on September 30 left three more Christians martyred and twelve severely beaten. Of the thousands of Christians whose houses have been burned down by the attackers, an unknown number is hiding in the jungle where they currently face starvation. To date, an estimated 2,000 Gospel for Asia-church attenders have been physically attacked; 630 of their homes have been burned down, and 22 GFA-built churches have been torched. The exact number of Christian schools and homes attacked in total is not known. The Hindu assassins have also deliberately blocked the roads where the violence is ongoing, preventing GFA Compassion Services teams from getting to the areas to distribute aid.
The attackers' preferred method
is to burn their victims alive.
This young girl survived such an attack,
but will bear the scars from it
for the rest of her life.
*Photo Courtesy of The Global Council of Indian Churches
Reuters, UPI, and the rest of the world media?
Britney's latest dance video, Paris' latest boy-toy
and Miley's idiocy du jour, systematic extermination of Christians on a mass scale goes unreported.
Yesterday, a friend e-mailed me the following report, which was the inspiration to start this blog:
, They Hack Christians to Pieces India
Before you spend any time fretting about the drop in the stock market, pray for Indian believers who have been attacked in the state of Orissa.
This week while many people in the
The people in Sindhipankha do not have 401Ks. Many of them, in fact, no longer have homes. Across the state of Orissa, in northeast
"The violence in August and September of 2008 has been the worst in our 2,000-year history in
The number of deaths continues to climb in
This wave of persecution hit Orissa in August when unknown assailants killed a swami, the leader of a Hindu holy order. The assassins later identified themselves as Maoists, but Hindus had already decided that Christians were the culprit. Since that time mobs of angry Hindus have bombed villages, raped nuns, burned orphanages, destroyed Christian businesses and used death threats to force people to reconvert to Hinduism.
Pastors, nuns, priests and churchgoers have been burned alive. The attacks have been aimed at Baptists, Catholics, Pentecostals—really anyone who wears a Christian label. Those who have escaped into the forests now risk starvation. And local governments have been slow to respond, even after similar attacks erupted in the state of Karnataka in the southeast.
Last week in the
Why the violence? Indian church leaders say fanatical Hindu nationalists are angry that Christianity is growing in
Shekhar Kallianpur, pastor of
What we are witnessing in
Radical Hindus believe that keeping Dalits at the bottom of the social structure is a fundamental part of their religion. It is the Indian way—and members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and other radical Hindu groups are proving today that they will kill and maim people and destroy property in order to keep their religion dominant.
Paul Thangiah, pastor of the Full Gospel Assembly of God church in
"The real reason for the persecution is the tremendous growth of Christianity in
My good friend Sujo John, an Indian evangelist who lives in the
Says John: "In the last 12 years there has been an incredible surge of Christianity in
I know we are experiencing some hard times here at home, but let's keep things in perspective. While we are complaining about high gas prices in the
I urge you to pass this message along to your pastor, prayer group leader and praying friends. Please remember the Christians of India. Ask God to protect them with His angels, give them supernatural courage to stand for their faith and keep the doors open so the gospel can be preached in this huge nation Jesus Christ came from heaven to save.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma. He has visited
Hindu extremists on the rampage