Anti-Christian Violence Again in India
Extremists Seeking Reprisals for Conflict in Australia
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BHATKAL, India, JAN. 27, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Three Catholic churches have been attacked in India, with media and Christian leaders attributing the violence to Hindu extremists exacting "reprisals" for what is seen as racial crime against Indian students in Australia.
Last Friday, a group of extremists tried to destroy a cross near Our Lady of Lourdes church in Mundalli, Karwar Diocese. They were impeded by faithful of the parish.
Then, in the early morning hours of Monday, the Lourdes Grotto of St. Anthony's church in Taranmakki, Karwar Diocese, was damaged, and the statue of Our Lady at the church of the Holy Family in Inkal, Mysore Diocese, was also smashed.
The news agency Eglises d'Asie of the Paris Foreign Missions Society reported that these attacks in Karnataka are seen to be reprisals for violence against Indian students in Australia.
Indians make up the second largest group of foreign students in Australia (after Chinese). Since last year, groups of students there have protested what they claim to be anti-Indian racial violence and a poor response from Aussie law enforcement. Both governments have become involved in the situation, with a call between the respective foreign ministers this month. Protests spread after a 21-year-old student was fatally stabbed Jan. 2. Australian authorities have said some of the crimes might be racially motivated, but others are cases of the students being simple prey for criminals.
In any case, Friday's and Monday's attacks against churches in India were previously threatened by a Hindu group urging the Indian government to protest the Australia situation more strenuously.
According to Eglises d'Asie, the threateners stated that "Christians in India form an active part of the conspiracy that affects Hindu Indians of Australia." The group gave an ultimatum and Friday (the day of the first attack) was the deadline.
But as the Christian population in India continues to recover from the wave of attacks that began in 2008, particularly in Orissa, one Christian leader contended that the real issue is a failure by authorities to stop the violence.
"Attacks against religious minorities are up," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, as reported by AsiaNews. "We are very concerned about the continued attacks against Christian communities in Karnataka.
"The greatest tragedy caused by such attacks against innocent Christians is the lack of justice.
"This happens in Orissa, Karnataka and other Indian states."