Attacks on Indian Christians exploding [Excerpts]
A new report confirms what Christians in India already feared: 2007 was the worst year since their nation's independence in 1947 for attacks on Christians.
The report from Compass Direct cited statistics compiled by the All India Christian Council in confirming that the number of attacks on Christians in 2007 surpassed 1,000 for the first time in India's history.
At least 200 anti-Christian attacks, including four murders, had been documented before the recent violence erupted in Orissa State's Kandhamal district, the report said. There, at least another four Christians were killed and about 800 attacks were reported. At least 730 homes and 95 churches were burned, the report said.
"In all the villages we have visited, people testify that the attacks, destruction and looting was done in the presence of the police," the report continued, with Hindu extremists from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad suspected in many of the gun, knife and bomb assaults.
There exists a "conspiracy to hide the bodies of Christians killed by VHP cadre to destroy evidence … Many are missing – both adults and children – in every village," the report said.
In one area around the Barakhama village, 415 of the 450 homes belonging to tribal Christians were burned, the AICC wrote. A Christian, Bhogra Naik of Barakhama, was "cut into three pieces" by attackers after his house was destroyed, the report said.
Compass Direct reported between 1950 and 1998, government figures show there were only 50 anti-Christian attacks. In 2000, that reached 100, and the tally has been continuing to rise.