Tribal Christian families attacked in Chhattisgarh!
The alleged violence broke out at around 2 AM in the village Sindhwaram, in the Sukma district
The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum has alleged that there has been a large-scale attack on the Tribal Christian community in the Sukma district of Chhattisgarh, today, November 25. According to a statement issued by Arun Pannalal, President Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, the violence against the Christian community broke out at around 2 AM in the village Sindhwaram, that falls under the jurisdiction of the Gajiraj police station in the Sukma district Chhattisgarh.
Pannalal stated that hundreds of people are injured and many are feared dead, though the death toll is yet to be confirmed. The Christian tribal rights activists stated that they have constantly been trying to get in touch with the District Collector and Superintendent of Police of Sukma all night, but they are not responding. “Gajiraj police station phone number is switched off since 2 AM,” stated Pannalal.
The organisation stated that an activist of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, managed to contact the Gajiraj police station in charge at around 6 AM. However, the police station in-charge denied any such incident. But the activists say that the victims of this attack have been sitting at the Gajiraj police station since 7 AM.
According to the information received and shared by the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, an early ‘Christmas worship’ was organised in the village Sindhwaram by the Christian community. Christian families from nearby villages also participated and after the community meal, the people slept in the tent. Around 2AM, however, they woke up when an allegedly drunk and armed mob attacked. “The murderous attack continued till five in the morning. Hundreds of Christians have been injured, many are feared dead, but the news of death cannot be confirmed,” stated Pannalal in his public statement. According to the activists there is still an atmosphere of fear in the area. Activists alleged that the villagers did not let anyone take videos or photos of the attack’s aftermath.
The Chhattisgarh Christian Forum stated that their district President and team were not allowed to enter the village. “With the fear of such tension and possible carnage”, the forum stated that it “has been appealing” to the states Chief Minister, Home Minister and high officials “and making them aware for two years, yet it has not been taken seriously.“ They alleged that the “entire Bastar region is being disturbed in a planned manner. This is a planned and conspiratorial attack”. Pannalal has demanded that the government “should act immediately, the matter should be investigated in depth.”
This is not the first such attack on Tribal Christians in the state. Earlier this month The Chhattisgarh High Court sought a response from Kondagaon Collector, SP and the state government after the attack on tribals who had voluntarily converted to Christianity recently. The Christian families had alleged that they were harassed, threatened, and homes were vandalised by some locals who were angry that they had adopted Christanity.
According to news reports, in September the members of the Christian community living in the villages of Kondagaon in Chhattisgarh had lodged a police complaint alleging that the locals were harassing them and that they feared for their lives and property. “The Christians are being beaten up, their properties ransacked and intimidated in spite of the presence of senior officials such as the Collector and SP. As many as 10 Christian families from different villages have approached cops for protection from the mobs. The affected families are living in an absolute helpless situation”, Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum had stated.
Around 16 tribal families filed a petition in the High Court and stated that they had converted to Christianity of their own accord in September 2020. However, this angered some in the village who then held meetings on September 19 and 20, and eventually ‘reported’ the conversion at the local police station on September 20. On September 22, the angry villagers came together as a violent mob, allegedly attacked the Christian houses and damaged property. They allegedly attacked again on September 23.
According to news reports the mobs were demanding that the Christians tribals “return to the tribal folds if they wish to live in the villages”. The Christian families were told to worship the native deities if they wished to continue living in the villages. Arun Pannalal, had alleged that a mob of around 2,000 villagers had ransacked the houses of at least 14 Christian families and also thrashed members of the community in Kakdabeda, Silati and Singanpur on September 22 and 23. These families, with over 50 members, were being pressured to quit their faith, he had alleged.
Courtesy : Sabrang