Sangh Parivar in Orissa - A Fact Sheet
- By Evangelical Fellowship Of India
- Published 09/20/2008
Evangelical Fellowship Of India
The Evangelical Fellowship Of India exists to empower and mobilize the local Churches, Church related institutions and individual Christians for effective witness for Christ. The Evangelical Fellowship of India crosses cultural and geographical boundaries and links Indian Christians with a world wide Christian community. EFI has continued to grow in recent years. Some of our newer areas of work now include advocacy (Christian Legal Association-CLA) and the Evangelical Financial Accountability Council (EFAC). It was founded in 1951 as a national alliance of evangelical Christians and is a central network of evangelicals in India. The vision of EFI is to strengthen Churches to live out the Gospel in the complex context of India.
The Hindutva private army in Orissa, and its bloody track record. [1964-1998]
Since 2000, the Sangh has been strengthened by the Bharatiya Janata Party's coalition government with the Biju Janata Dal.
In October 2002, a Shiv Sena unit in Balasore district declared the formation of the first Hindu 'suicide squad'.
In March 2006, Rath stated that the 'VHP believes that the security measures initiated by the Government [for protection of Hindus] are not adequate and hence Hindu society has taken the responsibility for it'. (In June 2008, Bal Thackeray said, "Hindu suicide squads should be readied to ensure existence of Hindu society and to protect the nation".)
The VHP has 1,25,000 primary workers in Orissa.
The RSS operates 6,000 shakhas with a 1,50,000 plus cadre.
The Bajrang Dal has 50,000 activists working in 200 akharas.
BJP workers number above 4,50,000.
BJP Mohila Morcha, Durga Vahini 7,000 outfits in 117 sites
Rashtriya Sevika Samiti (women's battalion) 80 centres
Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh 171 trade unions with a cadre of 1,82,000.
Bharatiya Kisan Sangh 30,000 cared in 100 blocks.
Friends of Tribal Society, Samarpan Charitable Trust, Sookruti,
Yasodha Sadan, Odisha International Centre. Ekal Vidyalayas, Vanavasi
Kalyan Ashrams/Parishads (VKAs), Vivekananda Kendras, Shiksha Vikas
Samitis and Sewa Bharatis cement the brickwork for hate and civil polarisation.
Virulent Hindutva campaigns against minority groups reverberated in Rourkela in 1964, Cuttack in 1968 and 1992, Bhadrak in 1986 and 1991, Soro in 1991.
In 1998, 5,000 Sangh activists attacked the Christian dominated Ramgiri - Udaygiri villages in Gajapati district, setting fire to 92 homes, a church, police station, and several government vehicles.
Sangh activists entered the local jail forcibly and burned two Christian prisoners to death.
In 1999, Graham Stuart Staines, 58, an Australian missionary and his 10 and 6 year-old sons Timothy and Philips, were torched in Manoharpur village in Keonjhar as they slept in their jeep.
Catholic nun, Jacqueline Mary was gang raped in Mayurbhanj and Fr.
Arul Das, a Catholic priest, was murdered in Jamabani, Mayurbhanj.
Churches destroyed in Kandhamal.
In 2002, VHP converted 5,000 people to Hinduism. In 2003, the VKA organised a 15,000-member rally in Bhubaneswar demanding denial of reservations to Christian Adivasis and Dalits.
In 2004, seven women and a male pastor were forcibly tonsured in Kilipal, Jagatsinghpur district, followed by a social and economic boycott of Christians.
In 2004, a Catholic church was vandalised, figures of Mary and Jesus shattered, and the community targeted in Raikia.
In 2005, Gilbert Raj, a Baptist pastor, was murdered and Dilip Dalai, a Pentecostal pastor, stabbed to death at his home in Begunia, Khordha district.
Lakshmanananda Saraswati, murdered on 23 August 2008, pioneered the Hinduisation of Kandhamal since 1969, his men targeting Adivasis, Dalits, Christians and Muslims through socio-economic boycotts and forced conversions to Hinduism.
The 1987-born VKAs men worked to Hinduise Kondh and Kui tribals and polarise relations between them and Christians.
In October 2005, 200 Bonda Christian tribals forcibly converted to Hinduism in Malkangiri.
In 2008, Hindutva discourse named Christians as 'conversion terrorists'.
In the Christmas 2007 attacks, 107 churches were destroyed, five persons killed, over 1,000 houses destroyed.
The August-September 2008 ethnic cleansing continues, and corroborated data is still being compiled.
The Christian population in Kandhamal is 1,17,950 while Hindus [a phrase which includes Tribals who may still be animists] number 5,27,757. Orissa Christians numbered 8,97,861 in the 2001 census - a mere 2.4 percent of the state's population, at par with the national average.
[Culled from Prof Angana Chatterji's article, Tehelka Magazine September 2008, and other sources]