Rogue state – Chhattisgarh

January 23, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

A fast track court investigated throughout 2016 and acquitted two youth accused of raping 48-year-old Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate  nun at a Medicare Centre in Raipur in August 2015 for “lack of evidence” in spite of the police interrogating more than 200 people. The District and Sessions Court Baikunthpur in Koria district, acquitted a Catholic priest, a nun and their maid were arrested 16 months ago on charges of sexual abuse of a minor girl. The prosecution failed to prove its case. Father Joseph Dhanaswami, Samaritan Sister Christ Maria and Philomena Kerketta, the maid were exonerated of all charges. The priest was the principal of Church-managed Jyoti Mission High School in Chirimiri village while the nun was the hostel warden. The priest was accused of rape, the maid of unnatural sex and the nun of not informing the police about the alleged offence. The diocese has maintained that the three were framed to tarnish the image of the Church and the school. Sanjeevan Lall, the lawyer for the Church said the police, under pressure from right wing politicians, had changed three investigating officers to effectively prove the alleged offences, but they failed.

He also said activists of the Bajrang Dal, a right wing Hindu organization, and youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), staged a protest and threw stones at the school, destroying a Marian statue to pressurize the police to act against the Church officials.

Pastors have been arrested, believers distributing gospel tracts beaten severely, Gond tribal Christian families warned to give up their faith or be burnt to death. Christians villagers threatened with denial of benefits to adivasis, if they did not contribute to building temples or conducting Hindu rituals to appease gods and goddesses. Hindu sarpanch or village heads participate in desecration of Christian graves. Evangelists are attacked and detained. A social and economic boycott is enforced with Christians denied water, ration cards confiscated, shop told not to supply essential commodities, etc. unless they deny their faith.

Allegations are made that the gods are angry and nature spews its fury because Christians pollute the village and hence, Christians are driven out of the village. Churches that refuse to pay bribes or Community Halls are demolished under some pretext or the other. Construction of churches, even those on privately owned land are not allowed. Children were taken away from Christian foster care and forcibly placed in government hostels, despite opposition by their parents who are church members. Several cases of pastors being fatally wounded and there are reports of several false cases being filed against Christians. A mob doused a pastor and his wife with petrol and attempted to burn them. There are instances of village heads (sarpanch) with others burning and torturing believers and imposing fines worth over Rs. 5000 for practicing the faith.  Girls have been raped, children hurt, with families being socially & economically boycotted.

For more info, contact: Joseph Dias, Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) Founder & Gen. Secretary +91 9769555657

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