Thursday, October 16, 2008


Readers may have seen the outrages taking place against Christians in the Indian State of Orissa. I wrote to my local MP, Tobias Ellwood about it. Via him, I had this response from Mark Malloch-Brown, the British Minister of State for Foreign Affairs:

"We condemn the recent attacks on innocent individuals that have led to the deaths, injuries and widespread displacements in Orissa. On 25 September the Indian Central Government ordered the Chief Secretary of Orissa State to take firm and effective steps to deal with these continued outbreaks of communal violence and bring the perpetrators to justice.

We welcome the Indian prime Minister’s unequivocal statements condemning these attacks, most recently on 29 September following the India EU summit. We also welcome the deployment of additional police in Orissa to restore law and order and the offer of compensation to victims. We were relieved to note the recent comments of local archbishops, state officials and police suggesting that the situation is slowly returning to normal, even though attacks are still being reported in Orissa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. I officially conveyed our concern at the current situation to the Indian High Commissioner on 1 October.

Our High Commissioner in Delhi, with European and other partners, has been monitoring the current situation in Orissa and in neighbouring states. They also monitor issues of religious freedom in India more generally. Our staff have regular meetings with the Indian authorities to express our concern about all incidents of religious intolerance. We use such occasions to urge the Indian government to uphold the right of freedom of religion enshrined in the Constitution and to bring to justice those responsible for attacks.”


Anonymous said...

the christen inrugents are killing indians in the name of GOD,in nagaland,tripura,mizoram,where christen are more than 50%.these christen insugents wants indenendance from INDIA.they are getting arms,ammunation,traing from pakistan and china.
we must condemn all types of killing in name GOD
church or christen never condemn these killing,WHY.

Terry Hamblin said...

If Christians are really acting as you say then I condemn it. However, there are two sides to every story. For example, Hindu extremists are blaming Christians for the assassination of their leader in Orissa even though Maoist terrorists have claimed responsibility.

In Nagaland the following is apparently true: A voluntary plebiscite was held in May 1951 to determine whether Nagas would join Indian Union, or live by themselves. The result was 99.9% in favor of independence. In persuance of their declared national decision, the Naga people launched Civil Disobedient Movement and sucessfully boycotted the General Elections of free India. Therefore, the Indo-Naga issue is neither a question of “Separation” nor “Secession” from India. Separation or Secession comes only when there is a union. Nagalim was and is never a part of India and as such, Naga independence is neither a question of separation nor secession from India.
Interestingly the group has two rival sub groups one led by guerrilla leaders Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah (NSCN-IM), and the other faction headed by S.S. Khaplang (NSCN-K). The two group’s have been engaged in a bitter turf war for territorial supremacy in which around 500 cadres have been killed in the past four years.

The two factions are also operating a ceasefire with New Delhi - the NSCN-IM is currently holding talks with the Indian government after entering into a truce in 1997.

The Khaplang faction of the NSCN is yet to begin formal peace talks although it entered into a ceasefire in 2001.

The peace attempt is being brokered by the Forum for Naga Reconciliation, the apex body of various civil society and rights groups in Nagaland, backed by the powerful Baptist Church in the state. Helping the Forum in its efforts are conflict resolution experts from the Britain-based Religious Society of Friends, whose members are commonly known as Quakers, besides some members from the American Baptist Church.
So although Nagaland has a strongly Christian population, it seems that the role of the Christian Church there is in trying to broker peace and reconciliation.

In Mizoram the current problem is impending famine. Churachandpur’s villages have lately been reduced to starvation. Around 16,000 acres of standing crop have been damaged, affecting over 1 lakh people, according to the district administration.

“Though the centre has sanctioned Rs 16.9 crore for relief, none of it has reached the district,” said K. Moi, Secretary, Zomi Economic Planning and Development

Unceasing rain and landslides have compounded the problem. “Parts of the district have been cut off from the rest of the county, and relief cannot reach,” said Moi.

The last such famine — and the callous neglect of the famine stricken — in the early 1960s sparked off insurgency in Mizoram, with the Mizo National Famine Front, originally an NGO working for the victims, transforming itself, in 1964, into the Mizo National Front (MNF) and demanding independence. The conflict ended 22 years later when the Rajiv Gandhi-Laldenga accord was signed in 1986. Mizoram is predominately Christian, but the conflict with teh Indian government has nothing to do with that, unless you are suggesting that the neglect of Mizoram during the earlier famine was an anti-Christian response.

Armed conflict in Tripura has been a problem since the end of the 1970s as an aftermath of 1971 Indo-Pakistan war. Mass migration of Bengalis from Bangladesh during this time has resulted in wide-spread insurgency and militancy in the state with groups such as the Tripura National Volunteers, the National Liberation Front of Tripura and the All Tripura Tiger Force aiming to drive away the Bengali people. Tripurans are predominately Hindu. I'm not sure how you think this is anything to do with Christians.

Anonymous said...

where chistian are less than 50% in INDIA,they talk about equal right,where they more than 50% ,they start killing nonchristian eg nagaland,mizoram,magalaya and
they also want independance from india.
A person like you justifing killing of nonchristian inname of GOD,in tripura and north east,this give wrong message entire world.
THAT killing of noncristian is GOOD in tripura ,mizoram,nagaland,magalayabut killing of christen is BAD.Most christian are getting arms and ammunation,training from pakistan and china.
what is diffrence between taliban,kashmiri terrorist and christian terrorist of nagaland,tripura and mizoram.all they are killing innocents.
why church never condenm killing of nonchristian in nagaland,tripura,magalaya,mizoram
we must condemn all types of killing in name of GOD by christian or by noncristian.

Terry Hamblin said...

You are traducing me. I have clearly said that I condemn Christians killing anyone in the name of God. All over the world smaller states are seeking independence from larger ones - we call it Balkanisation. In the UK Scotland is seeking independence from England. In Yugoslavia, Sebia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia have all gained independence. East Timor gained independence from Indonesia a few years ago. Sometimes this happens because a religious minority is treated disadvantageously by the central government (as with Bosnia and East Timor), sometimes it is for perceived financial advantage (as with Scotland) There are advantages and disadvantages to Balkanisation.

Neither Pakistan nor China is a Christian country, so I doubt very much that these insurgencies are Christian based, but again I insist that anyone who wages a war on religious grounds is in the wrong, whether they are the central government or rebels.

Why do you hide in anonymity? If you wish to tell lies about me, reveal your name. I shan't publish any more anonymous communications from you.

Anonymous said...

Your anonymous poster can't even spell "Christian" properly. He sounds like a zealot who hates Christians, posting from a list of 'talking points'.

In reality, Christianity is under assault all over the world, especially in the United States where the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) attacks Christians at every turn, but supports spending public monies for Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Thanking you,I hope you are not justifing killing in name of GOD.You may visit or church may send a team to nagaland,magalaya, mizoram to find out truth how non christian are unsafe or about christian terrorist, who are killing innocents .

Duomai said...

I am a Naga, and so let me clarify certain things.

Christians are more than 50% in Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya but not Tripura. Mizoram and Meghalaya are very peaceful. The most violent one is Manipur, and the extremist there are Hindus. In Assam, another North Eastern state, there is ULFA who are again Hindus.

We Nagas were not part of India. However, as of now Nagas are divided. Some want to be different, and others want to remain in India. The Nagas taking up arms is, therefore, not a religious war but a political movement. And if one wishes to be fair one must look at the entire issue politically. The Nagas, I concede, are Christians though.

Nagas are not killing Indians in Nagaland. Indian armies are being killed, but not the civilians. If we have to count the number of civilians killed, those Naga civilians who died of Indian bullets outnumbered in terms of thousands. I do not, however, wish to see it as Hindus killing Christians or vice versa.

Meghalaya never asks Independence from India. Mizoram once did, but that was over two decades back. Non-christians are never unsafe in North India, nor are Christians unsafe is Manipur or Assam or Arunachal Pradesh or Sikkim.