Monday, September 1, 2008

Militancy and Christianity in Odisha

Militancy and Christianity in Odisha
Ashok Sahu, IPS (Retd.)

Please see the below links.

The Christianity as a faith is essentially based on the
Love, Peace and the Truth as its basic tenets and central theme. But
in the name of protecting Christianity, history of the world is
colored many a times with human blood. During, before and after the
Crusades, series of wars have been fought for peace, and extreme
brutality has been perpetrated in the name of God. In India the
conversion of Hindus was resorted to by the missionaries with direct
patronage from the alien rulers with intent to bring about a permanent
change in the mind set of Indians so that the Union Jack could fly
permanently over Indian soil. But it was not that easy to change the
Hindu mind set which is the product of centuries old particular way of
living. Though, the missionaries realised that for Hindus living was
more important than believing, still they pursued their efforts to
convert them to Christianity by dividing their society into 'depressed
class' and 'high-caste Hindus and Aryans' having come from out-side
and the Dravids and the aborigines as 'animists' . They set up schools
to condition the young minds with distorted history. Still, they
failed. Then they started having boarding schools and picked up
children directly from poor and illiterate families particularly the
so called 'depressed classes' and the tribal people whom they termed
as aborigines. Later, the missionary boarding schools manufactured
clerics for furthering the missionary conversion among the down

The Portuguese missionaries were notorious for adopting duress and
violence to proselytize the natives in Goa, Daman and Due. In the
tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal it
was more by taking advantage of their abject poverty and illiteracy.
In the North-East the hill tribes were again treated as 'animists'
like the African tribes and got converted 'en masse' in the 1940s due
to their basic ignorance. Between 1941 and 1947, 90% of the tribal
population in the districts of Naga hills, Mizo Hills, Khasi Hills and
the Garo Hills were converted to Christianity and were tutored to
secede from independent India by claiming that they never had any
historical link with rest of India. Along with Christianity gun
culture was also taught and Phizo from Naga Hills and Laldenga from
Mizo Hills were given political asylum in the UK. The MNF and the NSCN
had bloody fights with armed forces for decades. And, at last, the
indigenous people realised that it was a Christian conspiracy to
weaken India whose independence was to the detriment of the colonial
interests of the UK.

The NSCN is notorious for running armed training camps along the
Indo-Burmese border for all the armed secessionist outfits and also
indulge in regular illegal Arms trafficking and Narcotic trade. The
separatist groups in Manipur, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura were all
trained by the NSCN factions operating from the Kachin border in
Burma. The NSCN's demand for " 'Nagalim' (Greater Nagaland) for
Christ" is well known. Now they are trying to convert the Karbi and
the Dimasha tribes in Assam on gun point. Because they have realised
that unless the 34 major tribes are converted to Christianity they
won't accept common leadership of Nagas. There is regular bloody war
in the name of Christ in the Assam, Nagaland and Manipur areas in the

In Orissa, the Christian churches in the districts of Deogarh,
Bargarh, Anugul, Koraput, Rayagada, Kondhmal and Gajapati have come
into recent record for harbouring the armed Maoists and using them for
conversion of poor villagers. It is evident during December riots in
Kondhmal district when Bamunigaon police station was attacked by armed
Christians and subsequent raid in Sikarama village helped in seizure
of twenty guns with ammunitions. Particularly, the Pastors/clerics
from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Goa operating in Orissa are using the
Maoist activists who serve as a shield against reaction to forced
conversion in the area. As a result, the number of crypto-Christians
is more than those who are enumerated Christians in the demography
figures of 2001. Some of the killers of Swamijee on the 23rd August
2008 incident are reportedly hiding in certain Churches under
protection by the armed police from the State in Kalahandi district
bordering Kondhmal. It is doubtful, whether the state police would be
able to conduct a raid in to the precincts of the Church for the
proclaimed 'secular credentials' as stated by the Chief Minister
Naveen Patnaik.

Against the known nexus between the Maoists and the Church, the
reported involvement of one 'Azad' from PLGA, the guerilla outfit of
the terrorist group has come to surface after one week of the gruesome
murder of Swami Laxanananda Saraswati, Sadhvi Bhaktimta and two others
on 23rd August 2008. The interview to a local newspaper by 'Azad'
further strengthens the theory of close nexus between the Church and
the terrorist out-fit in Orissa. But the fact remains that the way the
attack on the Swamijee and the Ashram was conducted and the way the
assailants retreated from the spot is the handy work of local
Christian youth with borrowed weapons from the Maoist armory.

On 08/7/2008 there was attack on followers of Swamiji at Tumudibandh
by an organized armed group when Madhubaba protested against
cow-slaughter. Swamiji had decided to sit on fast-unto death from
22/7/2008 to mobilize public opinion through out the state in protest
of government apathy in ensuring security against Christian zealots in
the area. Recently, one front organization of the CPI (Maoist) called
Loka Sangram Dalit Manch is busy in recruiting suitable tribal youth
in the area for their guerilla outfit. Krishna Paraseth, Nakul Nayak,
Hemant Nayak and Gajapati Mandal are some of the leading members of
the new outfit. In this regard, the failure of the local police is
directly proportionate to the future success of the out-fit in the
area. The recent developments are only indications for the shape of
things to emerge, and a signal to the governments at the Center and
the State to prepare the future agenda, as how to deal with the role
of Church and the spread of Maoist extremism in the state of Odisha.

Viswasambad Kendra orissa

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