Amnesty's annual report criticises violence against Christians

By: Babu Thomas
Thursday, 28 May 2009, 17:28 (IST)
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The annual report of the Amnesty International has strongly criticised the Indian government for the violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.

In its 2009 report, the leading human rights organisation noted that, for "two months" Christians were attacked in the state of Orissa in the aftermath of the murder of a local VHP leader.

"The attacks, which resulted in at least 25 deaths, were led by supporters of Hindu nationalist organizations reportedly allied to the Bharatiya Janata Party – part of Orissa’s ruling coalition – and included arson, looting and sexual assault of women," the report pointed.

It alleged "police were either inactive or responded with excessive force in the face of sectarian violence against religious and linguistic minorities and ethnic clashes."

The Rights group further noted that Christians even in relief camps were attacked. "In at least two camps for the displaced, Christians continued to be subjected to violent attacks by supporters of Hindu nationalist organizations."

On the pogroms against Christians in Karnataka last September, Amnesty estimated that about "30 Christian places of worship" were attacked by supporters of Hindu nationalist organisations.

"The suspected perpetrators were arrested only after opposition party protests," the report said.

Amnesty’s report has come just weeks after the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) announced its visit to India in June.

Amnesty International, with 2.2 million members and subscribers in more than 150 countries, is a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all. The organization was founded in London in July 1961.

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