‘Shocking’ Trend in India: Child Traffickers Posing as Missionaries

CT

By John Malhotra

North east India has a high concentration of Christians, but there are fears that this fact is being exploited by criminals disguising themselves as missionaries and evangelists in order to traffic children.

Last month, over 70 such malnourished children from Manipur, Nagaland, and other north eastern states were rescued from a home at Kuzhithurai in Kanyakumari district.

Families, particularly in Manipur, are reportedly sending their children off into the hands of traffickers who promise to give them an education or employment, as highlighted recently by the Times of India.

It is believed that the children, aged from around six to 15, are being taken to unregistered children’s homes where they are kept in poor conditions and made to do menial work such as cooking and laundry.

There have been reports of children dying in suspicious circumstances and of others being molested and abused.

“These institutions exploit religion to make money. With many of them not registered with the government, the homes escape scrutiny,”said Vidya Reddy of the Centre for Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse in Tulir, according to the Times of India.

In light of the reports, the Church has become concerned for the welfare of children.

“This trend is shocking and deplorable,” said Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi, theologian and Secretary of Commission on Adivasis/Tribals in the National Council of Churches in India.

“It is indeed very ruinous and gross that religion is used for the trafficking business,” she said. “Taking the name of Christianity, they lure gullible Christians, specially the parents of poor families or guardians of homeless children and make it a thriving business.”

In explaining why Manipur is an easy target, Chhungi noted how the Kuki people in that state are one of the most victimized tribes in inter-tribe conflicts. These conflicts and killings have rendered children without parents in recent years.

“This sorry situation is taken advantage and made a business by vested interests,” she stated.

Knowing this, the National Council of Churches in India plans to hold a symposium to raise awareness of child trafficking among churches and NGOs.

The ecumenical organization of Protestant and Orthodox churches in India presently represents 13 million Christian people through out the country and includes groups such as National Council of YMCAs, YWCA of India, Churches Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), and Bible Society of India (BSI).

In total, NCCI is made up of twenty-nine member churches , fourteen regional councils, fourteen all-India organizations and seven related agencies.

http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100214/india-church-alarmed-at-child-traffickers-pretending-to-be-missionaries/index.htm

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Exposed: Saudi Arabia’s secret nuke stash

WND

Riyadh ‘confident’ it has an atomic option

Pakistani missiles on display in Karachi in 2008.

By Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Pakistan’s nuclear weapons project was partially financed by Saudi Arabia, with the two countries sharing nuclear technology, a senior Egyptian security official told WND.

“The Saudis are confident they have a nuclear option via Pakistan,” said the security official. “The Pakistani nukes are also Saudi nukes.”

The official said an agreement between the two countries was secretly inked seven years ago, although at the time such a pact was strongly denied by both Saudi and Pakistani officials.

Pakistan in the late 1990s became the seventh country to successfully develop and test nuclear weapons. The Pakistani arsenal is estimated at between 35 and 95 warheads, according to the U.S. Navy Center for Contemporary Conflict.

Analysts have been keeping a close eye on the rise of Islamic militants in provinces close to Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

Saudi-Pakistan cooperation has been extensive for decades. The two are both leading Islamic countries with close military alliances. As early as 1969, the Pakistan Air Force flew the aircraft of the Royal Saudi Air Force to help fend off an invasion from South Yemen. In the 1970s and 1980s, about 15,000 Pakistani soldiers were stationed in Saudi Arabia to protect the country’s oil fields.

According to recent media reports, Saudi Arabia negotiated the purchase of Pakistani ballistic missiles that are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

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Indian Politician YSR Reddy dead in chopper crash

TIMES OF INDIA & VOA NEWS


YSR Reddy

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has died in an air crash, home minister P Chidambaram has formally announced.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YSR Reddy dies in chopper crash.

“We are in deep mourning,” the home minister said, describing YSR, who led the Congress to a spectacular election victory in May this year, as “a tall leader”. (Watch Video )
“… We send our condolences to the families of YSR and the other four (who died in the helicopter crash).” (Watch Video )

The bodies of 60-year-old Reddy, his special secretary P Subramanyam, chief security officer A S C Wesley, pilot Group Captain S K Bhatia and co-pilot M S Reddy were found on Rudrakonda Hill, 40 nautical miles east of here, besides the mangled remains of the helicopter. ( Watch Video )

YSR’s mortal remains are being flown to Kurnool General Hospital. After a postmortem there, they will be brought to Hyderabad, state government sources said.

Big crowds have gathered outside the state secretariat and YSR’s residence. As Thursday is also the day for the immersion of Ganesh idols at the end of the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations and there is a huge traffic dislocation in the city, cops are finding it difficult to manage the situation.

The central leadership of the Congress is understood to have cleared the name of Andhra Pradesh finance minister K Rosaiah as the caretaker CM of the state.

The Union Cabinet is meeting to discuss the matter.

The helicopter carrying YSR Reddy, two of his staff and two pilots went missing in pouring rain Wednesday morning over the Naxal and tiger-infested Nalamalla forests.

Nearly 24 hours after YSR’s chopper went missing, it was located atop Serai Salem hill, at a distance 40 nautical miles (70 kms) east of Kurnool.

The CM left Hyderabad on a six-seater Bell chopper at 8.35am for Chittoor accompanied by his secretary and chief security officer. After 9.27am, radio contact was lost with the helicopter.

Soon after the chopper lost contact, multiple agencies of the state launched a massive hunt for possible wreckage in the desolate terrain.

By evening, it expanded into the country’s biggest-ever search operation with satellites in the sky joining remote sensing aircraft, fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, troops on the ground and even barefoot deer-hunting tribals with bows and arrows.

A Strong Supporter of India-US Friendship

US Ambassador to India Timothy J Roemer on Thursday condoled the death of Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash, describing him as “a strong supporter of India-US friendship”.

“The chief minister was a strong supporter of the US-India friendship and our bilateral partnership, visible in the strong economic and family ties between the people of Andhra Pradesh and the United States,” Roemer said.

On behalf of the US government, Roemer offered his condolences to Reddy’s family as well as to the families of two senior officers who died along with the chief minister in the crash. Two pilots also died in the crash.

The 60-year-old chief minister, popularly known as YSR, was going from Hyderabad to Chittoor, 588 km away, for a mass contact programme when his helicopter went missing in bad weather around 9.30 am on Wednesday in a dense forest range. His body was found Thursday.

YSR will be cremated in Pulivendula, his native town in Kadapa district, where he will be cremated with state honours.

A Strong Christian

Reddy – a devout Christian in a Hindu-majority country – turned from medicine to politics in his home state and became one of the most influential leaders in the Congress Party.  In his state, he was noted for traveling to the most remote regions of Andhra Pradesh to understand the living conditions of his poorest constituents.

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India’s grave challenge: China’s military

WND

New Delhi would be no match to Beijing over disputed regions

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.


Arunachal Pradesh

India is trying to figure out whether it should be focusing on the potential threat from either Pakistan or China, even as China is adding to its options for military maneuvers, according to a report from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

Until now, New Delhi has regarded Pakistan as its major nemesis, but increased tensions on the border between India and China may prompt a re-evaluation, and the probabilities don’t look good.

Pakistan and China have been cooperating, and the reality is that India’s military would be no match for a confrontation with China alone. With China and Pakistan working together against India, any confrontation would be formidable for India.

In a new report, India’s Ministry of Defense says China is “enhancing connectivity with Pakistan through the territory of Jammu and Kashmir, illegally occupied by China and Pakistan, and with other countries, will also have direct military implications for India.”

Until recently, India emphasized building its naval capability with a de-emphasis on its Army and Air Force, critical to protect the much disputed and vital Arunachal Pradesh region. China vehemently lays claim to the region, as G2B recently pointed out (July 10, “China-Indian conflict simmering on low boil”).

Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments around the globe with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.

India has concentrated its efforts on rebuilding its blue-water Navy, seeing that the Chinese Navy far outstripped its own capability. The reality, however, is that the build-up that India has undertaken still will not begin to match anything the Chinese Navy has.

For example, China’s military has a major missile arsenal of intercontinental ballistic missiles. China’s DF-31A ballistic missile can hit targets 11,200 kilometers, or 6,959 miles, away while its JL-2 SLBM, or submarine-launched ballistic missile, can travel more than 7,200 kilometers, or 4,474 miles. In addition to its SLBMs, Chinas has 75 major warships and 62 submarines, 10 of which are nuclear-powered.

India has neither ICBMs nor SLBMs and has only 30 warships and 16 aging submarines, none of which are nuclear-powered.

With the June re-election of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India has shifted its priority to expanding its Army and Air Force capability, something that has infuriated the Chinese.

This renewed emphasis allows India to place more of its military in the Arunachal Pradesh region. Until that occurred, China was beginning to play down its military claims on the region.

According to security experts, this shift in priority from naval projection to building up the Army and Air Force will provide India a greater deterrence and self-defense ability in the areas along the Sino-Indian border.

For the complete report and full immediate access to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, subscribe now.

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China-Indian conflict simmering on low boil

FROM WND

Troops, equipment being staged, airfields planned

Editor’s Note: The following report is excerpted from Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin,the premium online newsletter published by the founder of WND. Subscriptions are $99 a year or, for monthly trials, just $9.95 per month for credit card users, and provide instant access for the complete reports.


Arunachal Pradesh

With the two most populous nations of the world sparring for influence in South Asia, the effect of China’s recently renewed efforts to contain India is simmering at a low boil, and an eruption could have worldwide implications, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

China has renewed its claim over a swath of land called Arunachal Pradesh in China’s southern Tibet region, prompting India to move troops and deploy its SU-30 fighter aircraft to the disputed border.

For China, India’s advancement of its military along the border is part and parcel of a strategic plan it calls India’s Look East policy, which apparently aims to extend influence in areas China regards as within its sphere. In particular, China is concerned about India’s outreach in the Western Pacific to the Malacca straits in cooperation with Japan.

The Chinese regard India’s new initiative since the June 9 re-election of India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as a hardening of its “uncompromising stand on important questions relating to national security and interests.”

Keep in touch with the most important breaking news stories about critical developments around the globe with Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence news source edited and published by the founder of WND.

At the same time, China sees India bolstered in its efforts due to Japan’s alliance with the U.S. and India’s strengthening of military relations with a number of Beijing’s neighbors. From Beijing’s perspective, such an effort is designed to “contain” China.

An official Chinese military paper, “China Strategy,” which represents the views of the Chinese government, states that India believes its power has already exceeded China’s. New Delhi perceives that the international situation has benefited it due to its support from the U.S. and Europe in pressuring Pakistan and in turn in “restricting” China’s military.

For that reason, India is attempting to change the Sino-Indian border status quo while accusing Chinese troops of carrying out incursions into the border area.

China has seen India dispatch to Arunachal Pradesh near China’s southern Tibet two additional divisions of more than 6,000 troops and two squadrons of SU-30 MK1 fighter aircraft, for a total of some 36 aircraft. To observers, this preoccupation makes the “China factor” more critical in overall Indian strategic thinking.

In response, the Chinese believe the Indians are no match for their troops, especially at the higher altitudes of the Tibetan plateau where the border dispute is simmering.

“India will not be in a position to conduct any border clash or any small or middle-scale war in the border,” a Chinese military specialist said.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army, or PLA, has deployed some 13 border defense regiments in eastern and western sectors of the Sino-Indian border, the 52nd Mountain Infantry Brigade to protect the southern Qinghai-Tibet region, the 53rd Mountain Infantry Brigade to protect the high plateau in the western sector, the 149th Division of the 13th Group Army in the eastern sector and the 61st Division of the 21st Group Army in the western sector.

For the complete report and full immediate access to Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, subscribe now.

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India Hindu Militants Attack Missionary School, Christians Say

WORTHY NEWS

NEW DELHI, INDIA

Staff of a missionary school in India’s eastern state of Andhra Pradesh faced another day of anxiety Thursday, July 8, after Hindu militants attacked and threatened to kill them for allegedly converting Hindus to Christianity, Christians said.

Witnesses said at least three Hindu militants raided the Good Shepherd School in the village of Ippallapally on May 29, hitting several teachers and warning them to stop working in the village. They apparently also called them several derogatory names and threatened to kill them.

Raj Kumar, the school’s principal, suggested in published remarks he was shocked about the attack. “We have been doing social work in this village for the last three years, and have been involved in educational and community development programs,” he said in a statement distributed by advocacy group International Christian Concern (ICC).

However, “While we were advertising for new students in the village, three Hindutva activists approached us and abused us.” Hindutva is a term used to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism in India.

EXTENSIVE SCHOOL

The Good Shepherd School is a missionary school with seven staff members, and teaches 134 students from ages three to six, ICC said. It apparently includes in its curriculum a Biblical approach to science and ethics.

The school filed a complaint with the police, who reportedly promised to investigate. However Christians said they were still awaiting concrete actions against suspects Thursday, July 8.

The latest incident came amid reports of several attacks against India’s Christian minority. “This incident illustrates that radical Hindu persecution of Christians in India is a common occurrence,” said ICC Advocacy Director Jeremy Sewall.

“Hindu persecution of Christians in India is a common occurrence. Christian teachers ministering to India’s children risk their lives to bring the Gospel.”

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NEWS ALERT: Pakistan Christian Families In Hiding After Violence

WORTHY NEWS

By Jawad Mazhar, Worthy News Special Correspondent reporting from Pakistan

BAHMANI, PAKISTAN (Worthy News)– Christian families in a volatile area of Pakistan’s Punjab province were in hiding Saturday, July 4, after angry Muslim mobs burned and attacked hundreds of Christian homes and churches, injuring over a dozen people, including women and children, witnesses said.

Rights investigators were on their way to the village of Bahmani in Punjab’s Kasur District, where most of this week’s violence took place, officials told Worthy News and its partner agency BosNewsLife.

The violence, which began July 1, “left several Christian critically injured including children and women at Bahmani village,” explained Joseph Francis, the national director of Christian rights and advocacy group Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement’ (CLAAS).

Francis said that he and his team hired two mini-vans “to ferry injured Christians from Bahmani village to a CLAAS rehabilitation center. “So far nine women and four children have been shifted for medical treatment,” he told Worthy News.

Francis alleged that the women and children “sustained critical burns because they were attacked with acid.” Some were “drenched in acid” he said, without providing more details.

“LOOTED AND VANDALIZED”

He said some 100 churches and homes were torched while 200 other Christian homes were “looted and vandalized”.

The violence reportedly began after a Muslim cleric allegedly accused Christians of blasphemous teachings against Islam and Prophet Muhammad, making announcements in a local mosque’s loudspeaker.

Police forces soon arrived but were unable to rescue injured Christians or control the enraged mob comprising of thousands of fundamentalist Muslims, witnesses said.

A tense calm was reported Saturday, July 4. Francis said rights groups arrived at the scene want to pressure authorities to prosecute suspects. Police have so far been reluctant to take action, rights groups said.

There was no immediate comment from police officials. The latest violence comes amid growing concerns about reports of Islamic extremism and attacks against Christians in Pakistan.

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India overturns 148-year-old law banning homosexuality

By Dean Nelson(Telegraph.co.uk)

Campaigners described the ruling as “India’s Stonewall moment,” a reference to historic riots by homosexuals in New York which are regarded as the inspiration of the modern gay rights movement.

Same-sex couples with rainbow-painted faces kissed openly at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar monument in jubilant scenes which would have been unthinkable in conservative India before the ban was lifted.

The ban on homosexual relations was introduced by British colonial officials and describes sexual intercourse between people of the same sex as an “unnatural offence.”Indian government officials maintained the British line until shortly after the Congress Party returned to power with a stronger grip on government.

Senior officials had said same sex relationships were “indecent,” against Indian values, and if decriminalized would lead to an increase in delinquent behaviour and pose a health hazard to society.

“Every citizen has the right to lead a decent and moral life in society and the right would be violated if such behaviour is legalised in the country,” officials had submitted.

Their argument was rejected yesterday by Delhi’s High Court judges who said the ban denied gays equal rights and was an affront to human dignity.

“In our view Indian Constitutional Law does not permit the statutory criminal law to be held captive by the popular misconception of who the LGBTs (lesbian gay bisexual transgender) are. It cannot be forgotten that discrimination is antithesis of equality and that it is the recognition of equality which will foster dignity of every individual,” the judges commented.

Their ruling will take precedence over India’s Penal Code until the parliament passes a new law on equality.

Celebrating campaigners, who until the ruling could have faced life sentences for having same sex relationships, said the historic decision for Indian homosexuals represented a vital first step in a new challenge to secure the same financial and social rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples.

“This is a victory for human rights not just homosexuals. It’s a remarkable step. This will defiantly encourage people to come out openly and express their sexual preferences. But this is just a milestone we have achieved. Now we will fight for the right to same sex marriages, adoption of kids, right to own property. The society will now accept us,” said Manish Kabir, a gay rights activist.

Religious groups, including leading muslim clerics and catholic clergymen, said despite the judgment, they still regarded homosexuality as immoral.

Ahmed Bukhari, the chief imam at Delhi’s historic Jama Masjid mosque, said: “This is absolutely wrong. We will not accept any such law.”

In fact India has had mixed feelings towards homosexuals. Hundreds of thousands of ‘hijras’ or eunuchs, mainly homosexual men who have been castrated and dress as women, are revered and their blessings are sought by conservative families for weddings and new births.

Manvendra Singh Gohil, the scion of the Rajpipla royal family, is still set to be India’s first openly homosexual maharajah after his family reconciled with him. When he first came out, following a nervous breakdown in 2005, villagers burned pictures of him and his family issued press notices stating he was no longer their son.

Many homosexuals have suffered violent attacks from their relatives and others and have been forced from their homes, and experts say criminalisation has been a factor in the spread of HIV/AIDS.

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Darwin Day ‘thumb-in-the-eye to creationists’

FROM WND

More than 600 events worldwide mark 200th birthday of father of evolution

Charles Darwin

An atheist group counts 649 events in 42 countries celebrating the 200th anniversary today of the birth of the father of modern evolutionary theory, Charles Darwin.

From an “Evolution Palooza” at the San Francisco Public Library to a book reading in India, the worldwide Darwin Day Celebration – administered by the Institute for Humanist Studies – is “part birthday bash, part thumb-in-the-eye to creationists, part opportunity for publishers rolling out Darwin books like sausages,” says USA Today.

At least one creationist, best-selling author and TV-host Ray Comfort, plans to return the favor by debating atheists on several national and international radio programs.

Autographed copies of Ray Comfort’s new book, published by WND Books, are available exclusively in WND’s online superstore.

Comfort will debate David Silverman, national spokesman for the group American Atheists, on the Alan Colmes radio show from 11 p.m. to 11:20 p.m. Eastern Time tonight. On Canadian radio station CFMJ he takes on atheist Scott Campbell from 7:30 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. Eastern Time. Across the Atlantic, the BBC show “Paul Coletti World Update” will feature a debate with Comfort that was recorded earlier this week.

Comfort’s new title by WND Books, “You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can’t Make Him Think,” is scheduled for release today. Comfort is the author of 60 books and the co-host of “The Way of the Master,” a weekly television show about personal evangelism with actor Kirk Cameron, star of the hit movie “Fireproof.”

The official website of the Darwin Day Celebration says the event “provides a new global holiday that transcends separate nationalities and cultures.”

“Darwin Day can be celebrated in many different ways: civic ceremonies with official proclamations, educational symposia, birthday parties, art shows, book discussions, lobby days, games, protests, and dinner parties,” the organization says.

“In Darwin Day, we are able to recognize the diversity among us, while celebrating our common humanity and the universal understanding we share.”

A celebration at Charlie’s Playhouse studio in Pawtucket, R.I., promised a “fun and festive afternoon for kids and adults” featuring live music, “fun evolution games, door prizes, demonstrations of how we make our Giant Timelines, a champagne/sparkling cider toast, tasty food and yes, a cake with 200 candles.”

The “Evolutionpalooza!” – sponsored by San Francisco Atheists – invited “fellow primates” last weekend to come for a “great afternoon of fun, food, music, games and evolution” that included special guest Eugenie Scott of the Nation Center for Science Education, a leading activist against the teaching of creation theory and intelligent design in public schools.

At the Texas Natural Science Center in Austin, Texas, a Darwin Day celebration featured a sandbox with hidden fossils that children “excavated,” the Daily Texan reported.

“There are people with babies and young children here, and we have activities for them, but the event also focuses on current, relevant research,” said Christina Cid, the center’s director of education.

Academic freedom

In a counter-offensive to Darwin Day, many students nationwide are using the occasion to declare Feb. 12 “Academic Freedom Day,” according to the Idaho Values Alliance.

The non-profit group says the event was developed “in response to the growing repression of dissent about Darwinian dogma in science curricula at all levels of education.”

As an example, the group said, then-University of Idaho president Timothy P. White issued an edict in October 2005 declaring evolution is “the only curriculum that is appropriate to be taught in our bio-physical sciences.”

The Idaho group said the declaration essentially muzzled the voice of a leading advocate of intelligent design theory, Scott Minnich, an associate professor of microbiology at the university.

More than 750 Ph.D. scientists have signed a statement declaring their skepticism that random mutation and natural selection can explain the complexity of life and urging that Darwinian theory be carefully examined, the group noted.

Students with Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness clubs at three Idaho schools – Boise State University, Northwest Nazarene University and the College of Idaho – are sponsoring booths on campus from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today to discuss evolution and encourage the signing of a petition urging academic freedom.

As WND reported, in the run-up to Darwin Day the Madison, Wisc.-based Freedom from Religion Foundation posted billboards in at least 15 states with messages such as “Imagine no Religion” and “Praise Darwin – Evolve Beyond Belief.”

FFRF said it placed a billboard just outside Grand Junction, Colo., because town officials rejected a proposal by a local atheist to proclaim a day honoring Darwin.

“Charles Darwin gets a bad rap in America, and we want to counter that,” said Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. “It’s an intellectual blot on our country that more than 50 percent of Americans reject evolution. The Darwin bicentennial is a chance to celebrate reality, to move our nation forward, to return to the Enlightenment.”

Last summer, the Western Colorado Atheists challenged Grand Junction’s longstanding practice of starting City Council meetings with a prayer, leading city leaders to drop the invocation on the advice of an attorney, the Colorado Independent reported.

Gaylor wrote a letter in November demanding county commissioners do the same, according to the Independent, asserting prayers are unnecessary, inappropriate and divisive.

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Christians brave horrifying massacres

FROM WND

Victims pledge to persevere as mobs rape, maim, burn faithful

By Drew Zahn

Despite brutal and horrifying persecution that has left countless dead and an estimated 50,000 homeless, Christians in India’s Orissa state are determined that God will have the victory in their violence-torn homeland.

Since the assassination of anti-Christian Hindu leader Swami Laxamanananda Saraswat on Aug. 22, mobs of Hindu fanatics that blame Christians for the leader’s death have been roving the Orissa state on the eastern shore of India, torching churches and homes, brutalizing Christians and burning the bodies of those they kill.

Reports from missions organization Gospel for Asia(GFA), however, tell of courage and determination in the face of violence.

One story reported on Christian Newswire told of a missionary beaten multiple times by a Hindu mob demanding he leave a village where he had been working.

“Even if you kill me, I will not make a vow that I will never come back,” the missionary is reported to have answered. “That depends not on me but on the Lord. If he wants to send me here, then I will come,” he told his attackers.

Simon John, a GFA regional leader in India, said, “Christians will stand together in this nation, in love and to lift up the people, even if persecution or death comes. We will not stop doing good for the people.”

Persecution and death, however, have come, and they have come by horrifying means.

United Kingdom newspaper The Times reports several cases of brutality over the last two weeks alone: a nun was gang-raped; a worker at a church-run orphanage was burned alive; and a woman seven months pregnant was cut to pieces along with her one-year-old son when she refused to denounce Christianity and convert to Hinduism.

Ravindra Nath Prahan, 45, told the Times he and 113 others, warned by a text message, fled to the jungle, living off rainwater and foraging food for a week. His paralyzed brother, however, couldn’t take to flight.

“They doused him with petrol and taunted him; we could hear him screaming,” Prahan told The Times. His brother was burned alive.

“I could have tried to save him. But we had to save ourselves,” Prahan said.

An estimated 50,000 Christians have been forced to run for their lives, while the Hindu radicals have torched more than 3,000 homes and over 100 churches. The Vatican records 36 deaths, but warns an accurate account is impossible since the mobs are burning their victims.

Orissa made headlines last Christmas when 95 churches were razed and at least five people were murdered, The Times reports, but the current massacre reflects the country’s worst persecution of Christians since gaining its independence in 1947.

“It’s a national shame,” India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, has reportedly said.

As WND reported earlier, the Indian Supreme Court last week ordered additional police forces into the Kandhamal district, the worst region of violence, and also ordered state officials in Orissa to do more to protect Christians. Reports had come from the region that the police were permitting the attacks.

Citizens have petitioned India’s president and rallied in the country’s capital city to seek a stop to the violence.

GFA reports, however, that even though 24 of their missionaries have been attacked and 27 GFA-related churches have been destroyed, the Indian Christians still believe God will have victory.

“The encouraging thing is that the attackers themselves acknowledge that Orissa used to be only 2 percent Christian, and now it’s 28 percent Christian,” reports Juria Bardhan, GFA’s state leader in Orissa. Pointing to Christianity’s historical growth during times of persecution and the dramatic rise of Christianity among India’s lowest, despised caste of people, Juria added, “They don’t understand that by doing this, the church will grow by leaps and bounds, and this will cause thousands to come to Christ.”

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