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Christian scapegoats fear renewed persecution following Hindu victory

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    Christian scapegoats fear renewed persecution following Hindu victory

    Christian scapegoats fear renewed persecution


    THE victory of the Hindu nationalist party in the Indian general election has ignited fears of more violence against Christians and Christian places of worship.
    Arson attacks on two churches in the southern state of Tamil Nadu are the latest in a series of violence by Hindu fundamentalists.

    Leading church figures blame the Government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Prime Minister, for failing to stop right-wing Hindu groups from stirring up anti-Christian fervour. A recent human rights report accuses his regime of exploiting religious tensions for its own political ends.

    Christians are the new scapegoats in India's political battles, according to Human Rights Watch in the United States. Its report says attacks against Christians have increased "significantly" since Mr Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power last year.

    Mr Vajpayee has tried to lead the BJP along a more moderate path, but the election win was not decisive enough to ensure his supreme command in the new regime. Many think he will find it increasingly difficult to reign in hardline Hindus.

    The lengthening list of attacks is set to be discussed when the Pope visits India early next month. "Tensions between Hindus and Christians are an entirely new phenomenon," said Father Dominic Emmanuel, the spokesman for the Archdiocese of Delhi. "There have always been tensions between Hindus and Muslims . . . but until now there has never been a hate campaign directed against Christians."

    The main accusation against the country's 23 million Christians, and in particular missionaries, is that they are trying forcefully to convert Hindus. Most of the attacks have taken place in Bihar and Orissa, India's two poorest states. Extremist politicians and landowners in these regions feel their power is being undermined by missionaries who try to educate and develop poor communities.

    An Australian missionary and his two sons were burnt to death in Orissa early this year. The man wanted for the murders is Dara Singh, an itinerant Hindi teacher.

    copyright 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd.

    Shhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Mr. xtreme didn't you know BJP is a secular party. How dare you?