Pogroms of Christians in India
Fr. IRENEUSZ SKUBIŚ
Let us think about the difficult problem that has occurred in India, I mean the pogroms of Christians. Reading various press reports, especially in recent times, we know about the persecutions of the Jews, the problem of Holocaust, how much the Jewish nation was harmed; what Europe, where this nation was destroyed, was liked; we read how the misfortune of millions of people, e.g. in concentration camps, in which besides other nationalities there were most frequently the Jews. They were condemned to death in gas chambers. The harm done to the Jews was enormous. This is a problem of annihilation of this nation. Today we remember about those times with shame and we often hear the Jewish accusations that they were not protected and guarded in a sufficient way. Today we think about this time with great pain, realising that people gave other people hell on earth. And also at present we hear bad news. We deal with pogroms of Christians in India. These are as if anti-Christian revolts and they embrace more and more Hindu states. On 8 September, in state Madhja Prades the Hindu fundamentalists beat a pastor and a group of youth as well as they burnt one of the local Anglican churches. The Hindu police are said to know about these matters but they as if silently permit these actions. The Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity have experienced troubles and we remember the Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta who did so much for the poor and the dying. And the sisters’ activities are disturbed. The Catholic nuns find it hard to work; they are accused of kidnapping or converting to Christianity by force – it is the case of four children aged 1-2. I do not know how to understand that. The sisters have appropriate identity cards, documents: permissions for their activities and unfortunately, they are persecuted. The Hindu authorities are not eager to help them. It may last for ever. The Hindu fundamentalists, gathered in the World Hindu Council, control even the police, which makes the sisters’ situation hard. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India is quite numerous and the bishops do a lot. Recently in New Delhi, during the meeting with India’s president the representatives of Indian citizens’ and Christians’ movements have handed her a memorandum in which they demanded legal steps against the Hindu political-social organisations, which supported the pogroms of Christians, in order to stop these pogroms. The Spokesman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India supports such appeals. There are certain legal rules that let those who call for riots for religious reasons be brought to justice. But they are not sufficient. The pogroms of Christians have always been well organised, which points to the fact that these actions are supported by forces that can cause strong and effective activities. The Christians in India are persecuted and they often run away to the jungle. The reports of the Vatican Radio on 30 August 2008 showed that those pogroms had happened in state Orisa; in the district of Kandhamal 24 Christian houses had been burnt and many people had died. Thousands of people have left their houses and are staying in camps organised by the authorities and guarded by the police and paramilitary units. The very cases of persecutions have not been anything new. Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi says that the situation in the region has not improved and the Hindu authorities should take decisive actions to defend Christians. In the above-mentioned state Orisa, where 20% of its population are Christians, in spite of the government’s preventive actions, there have been acts of violence. The numbers of victims show 30 dead, 4,000 wounded, 20,000 burnt houses and 10,000 runaway families. It is a pity that the Polish media give so little information about that. We should talk about that to avoid being accused – like in the case of the Jewish environments – that when the Jews were being annihilated and persecuted people spoke too little about that and the world knew nothing. The only way to defend our brothers is that Christians in Europe and all over the world cry aloud so that the Hindu authorities realise that the world is disturbed by this situation. We must speak about this so that the world gets to know that Poles think with love about Christians and they condemn the criminal deeds of the Hindu fundamentalists. It is India that gave the great personality of Mahatma Gandhi – a man of peace. One should refer to the wonderful examples for the Hindu nation to live in peace and love with all people in the world. We appeal to Christians, to Polish Catholics to call for justice in India in their own way. This is also a call from Czestochowa, from Jasna Gora. The Christians’ indifference towards many issues is clearly seen but they have grown on the culture of the Good News.
Unfortunately, they have many a time lost their relationships with Christ. However, they should take up the idea of Christian solidarity. Only thanks to such a possibility we can defend many and cause that persecutions and harms will not happen again, So that nobody will buy a Catholic boy as a slave for ca. 15 dollars, which has happened in Sudan recently. We must defend what is just and righteous.