Cases of Christians being attacked have more than doubled in the past three years in India with Karnataka and Orissa being the worst according to a report released by a Christian organisation on Wednesday.
Maharashtra is among the ten worst states with increased incidence of communal outfits attacking churches, said the report prepared by the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum (CSF) and released jointly with the All India Secular Forum.
In India, cases of serious crimes against Christians including grievous attacks and murders went up from 150 in 2008 to more than 365 in 2011, a CSF member said. “While the national average of crime came down, anti-minority attacks increased in Karnataka by 90 per cent in the past three years,” said retired justice Michael Saldanha who inquired into several cases in Karnataka.
The report, Rising Anti-Christian Violence — 2011, prepared after compiling government records, media reports and interviews with victims, stated that the number of cases could be more than 1,000 if small incidents were included.
Although Maharashtra did not report cases of murder, there were attacks on churches in many small towns and villages and in tribal areas.
“Intimidation of Christian missionaries, especially in tribal areas are part of the same anti-Christian phenomenon,” Ram Puniyani of Plural India. The report calls Maharashtra the “Hindutva capital” and lists 14 attacks.
“In Orissa, apart from attacking and killing of people who refused to re-convert to Hinduism, many charitable organisations such as leprosy centre, hostels for children were attacked,” said Saumya Uma, a socio-legal activist who works extensively in Orissa.
Activists urged the government to provide compensation, witness protection and livelihood options to those affected.