Caribbean Christians call for end to Hindu plunder in India

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, December 29, 2007 – Christians in the Caribbean have asked the Indian government to intervene to stop violence against Christians that erupted on Christmas eve.

The Evangelical Association of the Caribbean (EAC) said it was deeply concerned about the ongoing violence against Christians in the state of Orissa on th east coast of India – about 1,250km (800 miles) east of Mumbai, the commercial capital, and 1,200km (745 miles) south south-east of the capital city New Delhi.

“Given our membership in the cricketing fraternity we would ask the authorities in India to do everything possible to stop violence against our Christian brothers and sisters in India and to safe guard their property,” said Rev. Gerry Seale, EAC’s chief executive officer.

The violence is reported to have started on the morning of December 24 when Hindu fundamentalists forcefully removed the Christmas decorations at Bamunigam village, close to a police station.

These decorations had been put up by local Christian businessmen with permission from the administration. This led to a heated verbal exchange between the two groups. Within a few minutes a group of people assaulted the Christian businessmen with sticks, knives, guns and other lethal weapons, the EAC said.

Seeing the crowd coming to attack, the people dispersed out of fear. The Hindu fundamentalists then destroyed and looted about 15 shops. Two Christians were badly injured in the melee and another six or seven were beaten.

On December 25 the crowd returned and destroyed churches in the Bamunigam area. The crowd then entered Christian villages and burnt their houses and property. Other Christians were threatened to leave their homes or face similar consequences.

“The parish church and the Christians are under threat without any police security,” the EAC added.