Hindu extremists murder Christians in India
And so His Grace exhorts his readers and communicants to pray today for the persecuted Church in India, where nuns are being gang-raped, and many believers are being murdered, tortured or burned alive. Children are being hacked to pieces before their parents’ eyes, and churches, community and pastoral centres, convents and orphanages have been burned down and destroyed. Elsewhere, Sisters of Mother Teresa have been attacked by stone-throwing Hindu militants with some being seriously injured. And mobs are terrorising believers throughout the area, marching and shouting “Kill the Christians”.
Cranmer has followed the appalling developments in Orissa via The Times, The Church Times, and other agencies, and he has to wonder why Britain’s Hindu community has not condemned these acts of barbarism. Such atrocities might make one feel sympathy for the Muslims of Kashmir, who have been subject to manifestations of Hindu terrorism for decades.
It is apparent that there is a concerted campaign of terrorism to prevent low-caste Hindus from converting to Christianity. Historically, many have found in Christianity a refuge from caste-related discrimination. Christian missionaries provided education to Dalits and tribals, which has met with disapproval from higher castes for obvious reasons. The ‘untouchables’ have risen to become bureaucrats and members of parliament because of the education provided by Christian institutions.
But one must remember that this conflict is perceived by Hindus as a war not of religion, but of culture. The Christian Hindus are being empowered to challenge an oppressive political order, and liberation theology is yielding its fruit. The tragedy, however, is that while many Hindus find salvation and liberation from oppression through the actions of the Christians, the Christians receive nothing but death and destruction at the hands of the extremist Hindus. Thankfully, there are reports of numerous Hindu ‘Schindlers’ who are assisting those Christians who are being forced to flee for their lives. Cranmer prays that they shall themselves be protected, and rewarded a hundredfold for their benevolent acts of selfless love - in this life or the next.