ATTACKS ON CHRISTIANS IN THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH
FOUR CATHOLIC NUNS WERE RAPED AND ASSAULTED BY MOBS
Magisterial probe ordered into rape of nuns
After the rape of nuns this church has a continuous police guard
The Madhya Pradesh government has instituted a magisterial inquiry into the alleged rape of nuns at Bhandariya village, in the border district of Jhabua on the night of September 22 and 23, 1988. State Home Minister Harvansh Singh, who returned to Bhopal after visiting the Christian missionary home at the village, told reporters that a massive search operation had been launched to arrest the culprits. Moreover, the police from the neighbouring state of Gujarat had also been alerted in view of the possibility of the accused escaping to that state. In their FIR, two nuns alleged that they were raped, while two others maintained that they managed to escape, said Singh. The home minister said the Christian missionaries were running a dispensary and a nursery school at the ashram at Bhandariya village, under Kalyanpura police station 45 km from the district headquarters, for the last five to six years.
About 20 miscreants reached the ashram at around 2 am on September 23 and knocked at the door seeking medical help for a child. As a senior nun refused to open the door, saying they should either bring a woman or a letter from the local priest, some miscreants broke open the main door of the ashram with crowbar and other instruments. Singh said the miscreants asked the nuns, who were locked inside a room, where the money was being kept, in lieu of their safety. As per the statement of the victims, the miscreants after taking the money, led the nuns to the nearby bushes in the premises and raped two of them. However, two others managed to escape.
Tension mounts in India's religious
Religious tensions have had dramatic consequences.
Four Nuns gang-raped in India
Four nuns belonging to the missionary group, Foreign Missionary Sisters, were gang raped by suspected Hindu militants in the Jhabua district of Madhaya Pardesh in central India on 23rd September 1998. The four Catholic nuns, all under 35 years of age, were dragged out of their convent, taken to a nearby field and gang raped by 15 to 20 men. The police claim that they have arrested 4 people in connection with the incident, but have declined to disclose their identity. The assailants first knocked at the door of the convent pretending that they needed urgent medical help for someone. The nuns were unconvinced and refused to open the door. They barricaded themselves in a chapel but the assailants then broke into the convent and ransacked the whole building before dragging the nuns from the chapel and taking them to the fields to be raped. All four of the nuns were from the state of Tamil Nadu working for FMS, a humanitarian medical organisation, set up to provide medical help to people bereft of medical facilities in the remote rural areas of the country.
The incident comes in the wake of increasing violence against Christians in India in recent years. In the last 2 years, as a result of widespread anti- Christian propaganda, there have been at least 45 recorded incidents of violence against Christians in the states of Orissa, Bihar and Maharashtra and Gujarat alone. Christians have even lost their lives in these attacks, and tens of Christian organisations, including schools, have been forced to close down. Hindu militants have pledged to make Gujrat a Christian free state by the year 2000. The current government is an alliance which includes RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak) and Shiv Sena , and is led by the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). It has united the militant groups around the vision of India as a Hindu state in which minorities must assimilate to the majority culture and language, revere the Hindu religion and glorify Hindu culture. Christian leaders have condemned this recent incident and have called upon the government to take immediate action to address the increasing and systematic persecution of Christians in India. Archbishop Alan de Lastic, the most senior catholic clergymen in North India, has written a robust letter to this effect to President Narayana. Dr Simon Qadri adds, We are horrified by these acts of violence against peaceful nuns. It is a tragic reminder that Christians in India are no longer safe from extremist attacks. Having received numerous reports and requests for help, CSW is now launching an awareness and advocacy campaign on behalf of Christians in India.