Published: 10:00 GMT Daylight Time - Wednesday 05 September 2012
Indian Christian killed, two injured, in attack by Hindus
Country/Region: South and East Asia, India
One Christian was killed and two seriously injured when Hindu extremists attacked church members at a prayer meeting before going on the rampage in an Indian village.
The attacks took place in Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu state
Photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D./Global Photo Archive
Last Sunday (26 August), a mob of militants from the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) came to a house in Sasthancode village, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu state, where a prayer meeting was taking place. They began to smash the windows of cars that were parked outside the property.
Local Christian Gnanamuthu (50), who had organised the gathering at his home, came out with his son Johnson to try to stop them. But the pair were beaten with sticks by the militants and were taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
The mob then went on the rampage in the nearby village of Nadaikavu. They started smashing the windows of a shop, and when Edwin Raj (29), the son of the owner, tried to stop them, he was severely assaulted. He died on the way to hospital as a result of his injuries.
Edwin, Gnanamuthu and Johnson were members of the same church.
The police deployed 1,000 additional officers to patrol the area to stop the violence from spreading. A First Information Report, which launches a criminal investigation, was filed against the head of the local Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and six other men.
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemned the attacks, warning that the situation in Kanyakumari District was "rapidly deteriorating." He called upon the central government and Tamil Nadu authorities to take action.
The incident follows an attack on Christian women in the same district on 13 August. Orsilal (25) and Jhansi (22), two sisters, were talking outside their home in West Parasery village when, without provocation, neighbours started to harass them. The two young women went inside; around 15 men then forced their way into the property and beat the sisters and their 44-year-old mother. The attackers kicked the women, hit their heads against the wall and pulled their hair. The women were still recovering in hospital two weeks after the assault.
A local BJP member is also thought to have been behind this incident.