India (International Christian Concern) – Christian leaders and activists called on the state government of Chhattisgarh to investigate a series of attacks on Christian villagers that took place in September. These leaders further called on state authorities to protect the Christian minority, many of whom remain displaced by the attacks.
In late September, Christians in Kakrabeda, Singanpur, and Tiliyaveda, all located in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, were attacked by their tribal neighbors. According to reports, the attacks occurred after the Christians were called to village meetings and refused to take part in rituals and prayers of Sarna, an animist tribal religion.
Enraged tribals physically assaulted the Christians, not sparing the women or children. The mob then turned its fury on the homes of the Christians, with many being partially destroyed. Many Christian families fled the villages, seeking shelter in the nearby forest.
“We are saddened by the incidents and are demanding an impartial investigation to safeguard the welfare of the tribal community and bring communal harmony among different religions,” Bishop Paul Toppo of Raigarh told the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN). “Tribals are generally peace-loving people who have a very good rapport with other faiths, but some vested interest groups want to create divisions among people in the name of religion, caste, and creed, which is very unfortunate.”
“It is the duty of the state government to take care of its people and we urge Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and other officials to look at the matter without making any discrimination on grounds of religion or caste to bring justice to the downtrodden,” Bishop Toppo concluded.
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