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India Christian News

Discussion about India Christian recent events.

Hindu Militants Attack GFA Bible College

By Vinod at 2007-03-10 10:08:00
Taken from http://gfa.org/militants-attack-gfa-bible-college

About 500 anti-Christian radicals attacked a Gospel for Asia Bible college in the eastern Indian state of Orissa on Wednesday evening, February 28. Gospel for Asia leaders in the area report the mob, which was mobilized by a Hindu nationalist group, systematically attacked the approximately 300 students and staff members present on the campus. Five students and the women's dorm director were seriously injured. All have been hospitalized, and one student is in critical condition.

The rest of the student body and staff remain inside the dormitories. Local and reserve police have arrived on the scene, but have found it difficult to control the crowd, and the situation remains tense.

The attackers also disconnected the electricity and ransacked the campus, destroying the roofs of many of the school buildings.

"The magnitude of this attack is unlike anything we've ever seen," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan. "This is one of the most severe situations we've dealt with, but our students and leaders are not discouraged."

Instead, they are asking God to bless their enemies.

"Please pray that this will become an opportunity for us to share the love of Jesus to the people who are persecuting us," one GFA leader from Orissa requests.

The attackers have been identified as members of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu militant group. The VHP is one of the organizations that falls under the Sangh Parivar umbrella, a loosely organized association of Hindu militant groups that promotes a philosophy known as Hindutva, literally translated as "Hindu-ness." This is the view that "to be Indian is to be Hindu." Groups adhering to Hindutva claim that Indian citizens who become Christians are abandoning their national identity, and their goal is to see Hinduism become the state religion.

The extremists who attacked the college demanded that GFA close the school and discontinue all work in the state. Gospel for Asia has had workers in Orissa since 1993, and their ministry has included Compassion Services relief and reconstruction work following the 1999 cyclone.

Orissa has a history of violence against Christians. Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons were burned to death in the state in 1999. Two other Christians—a pastor and a layperson—were stabbed to death earlier this month. Police have yet to take any action on these two recent murders of Christians.

In spite of the Indian constitution's provision for freedom of religion, the state of Orissa, now governed by the Hindu nationalist BJP party, has an anti-conversion law aimed specifically at Christians. Citizens must report to the government if they become Christians and then petition for permission to be baptized.

The attack on the Orissa Bible college comes just 10 days after another group of Hindu extremists attacked five Bible college students in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Two of those students were critically injured in the attack.

"We are asking Christians around the world to pray for complete restoration of the injured students and their campus," says Dr. Yohannan.

"And let us also pray for these attackers. In all religions there are extremists, and this case is one example of that," he remarked. "They, too need to know the love of God in a real and personal way."
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