Monday, 22 February 2010

Churches burnt in Punjab

A few days ago I read in the newspapers that Christian schools in the north eastern city of Shillong had complained about a school text book containing a caricature of Christ with a cigarette and beer can.They withdrew the book from their syllabus. The publish hing house apologized and recalled the objectionable books and people who returned the books got their money back.
But things were not so in Punjab. Below is a media report.
India consists of a multi religion society. We must learn to respect each other 's views and
live peacefully.Christian are soft targets as we silently bear persecution.
We are also ridiculed and mocked just as Jesus was.

A northern Indian industrial town was put under curfew today following violence over pictures caricaturing Jesus. It was lifted at 1 p.m. today [Feb. 22]. Suspected Hindu radicals reportedly attacked three churches after a general strike called by some Christians turned violent at Batala in Punjab state’s Gurdaspur district on Feb. 20. Christians were protesting posters showing the Sacred Heart of Jesus with a beer can in one hand and a cigarette in the other that had appeared in Jalandhar, another city in Punjab, earlier in the day. Father Michael Anikuzhikattil, parish priest of Gurdaspur, told UCA News that a general strike was in force in Gurdaspur district on Feb. 21. According to him, “the objectionable posters” hurt Christians, who form 25 percent of the district’s population. The priest said more than 1,000 Christians attended a meeting with the district officials earlier in the day.
."Father Peter Kavumpuram, the local diocesan spokesperson, said that as soon as the posters appeared, a Catholic delegation led by Bishop Anil Couto of Jalandhar met authorities to seek action against those responsible. The government took two days to arrest the culprits. Police yesterday [Feb. 21] arrested Pritpal Singh, an Ayurveda doctor responsible for putting up the poster. His accomplices were arrested today. Father Kavumpuram said Catholic and other established Churches, did not organize protests following the administration’s assurances. They urged people to keep calm and accept the incident as part of their Lenten penance, Father Kavumpuram added. However, other smaller Christian sects ignored the plea and organized protest marches in various parts of Gurdaspur. They met at a Methodist church in Batala and went to the local administration office to submit a memorandum. On their way, someone in the group shouted slogans against a Hindu radical group and that triggered violence. The Christian protesters looted shops and destroyed some motorcycles. Police and local people beat up this group. Then, a Hindu mob attacked two churches and burned another, all belonging to Protestant Churches. The police arrested many Christian youths. Father Kavumpuram said as soon as the Hindu radicals retaliated, leaders of the Christians protesting fled the scene. About 300 Christian youths from the affected areas attended a meeting the Catholic Church convened at Fatehgarh on Feb. 20 to take stock of the situation. Church leaders urged the youth to refrain from indulging in violence.
10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5 New Testament

6 Fertilize my soul:

Gerry said...

These actions must be very disturbing for you. Of course since Christians are the majority in our country we do not have such desecration but there has been a concentrated effort to stamp out anything that secular thinkers regard as religious therefore not scientific, not established in proven fact in the schools etc, but this has led to the extremists of secular thinking who promote abortion. Congress is locked in conflict right now with one of the issues being abortion funding by the government which the pro choice faction has pushed to the max. Don't know if they will succeed in getting abortion funding passed or not. This is downplayed in the press as a viable issue the press being largely pro choice, naturally, so I think conflicts with not quite such a violent turn exist here, too. Which always have the possibility of accelerating. I am a believer in protecting life from conception so have had to get used to insults to my intelligence, etc.

Holly, the Old Western Gal said...

How sad to read about violence and bad behavior! So much mischief in the world!

Felisol said...

It's so sad that Christians let them selves be tempted to riots because of a drawing.
Jesus himself was mocked in the most cruel way without uttering a word.

I guess there is a difference in culture as well.
We see Muslims go bananas over alleged Muhammad caricatures.
I am shocked by such behavior; both childish and threatening in a weird way.

Life sure is not easy in this multicultural world.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Amrita:)

It is highly disturbing to read this report. Christians are a minority in this country and vulnerable to attacks by Hindus.

In many places the Christians have adopted many Hindu rituals to merge with the society. Yet the Hindus often take advantage of our minority situation and persecute us.

In Kerala, we have a sizable population of Christians and we also play a major role in government formation. So, generally we allowed to live in peace. In the north, the situation is different and parties like BJP and Bajrang Dal take advantage of the situation and attack us.

Our religion is based on sacrifices and persecutions and therefore we are bound to grow. However, we need the sympathy and support of all Christian countries.

You have highlighted our problems in this country at the rigt time and I hope this will get widespread attention of world community.

Have a nice day Amrita:)

Buttercup said...

I never understand people's inability to respect others, and am so deeply saddened when it turns to violence. I am praying for peace and a climate of respect to grow.

Unknown said...

It's Very Nice post. I liked it.