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Christians in eastern Indian state live in ‘appalling situation’

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Indian Christians hold placards and banners during a protest in New Delhi on September 26, 2008, held to draw attention to continued anti-Christian violence in the southern Indian state of Karnataka and the eastern state of Orissa. Christian leaders in India have asked for the deployment of soliders in the restive states.   Some twelve people have died in Orissa's Kandhamai region and Karnatka since the death of Hindu Priest and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshananananda Saraswait and four others who were shot dead by unidentified killers in Orissa in August. AFP PHOTO/RAVEENDRAN / AFP PHOTO / RAVEENDRAN

Indian Christians hold placards and banners during a protest in New Delhi in this file photo to draw attention to continued anti-Christian violence. (Photo by AFP

A team of politicians and human rights activists who toured Chhattisgarh has reported several cases of violence against Christians in the eastern Indian state.

“Christians live in an appalling situation in rural areas where local laws meant for their welfare and protection are used to harass and divide the people on the basis of religion,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association, who was part of the team that included former lawmakers.

After touring Chhattisgarh June 8-11, the team released a report saying how the state government failed to help Christians in villages oppressed by Hindu nationalists.

Several villages in Baster district for example have against the spirit of the Indian Constitution restricted non-Hindus from residing or building places of worship in those villages, the report said.

Christians are even being prevented from using burial grounds in several villages, it said.

In Sirisguda village, Christians were not allowed to buy grocery from the government’not s public distribution system and were beaten up, the report said. After the attack, the ambulance was not allowed in the village and injured Christians allowed to get treatment in the district hospital.

Christians are also not allowed to use common water sources in villages and district officials insisting that Christians must convert to Hinduism or leave the village. “We have come across innumerable examples of Christians under pressure to change their religion, in gross violation of constitutional provisions,” Krishnan told ucanews.com  READ MORE

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