By BosNewsLife Asia Service
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Two Christians, including a father of three children, were found dead in India’s troubled Orissa state, amid mounting concerns over the renewed killing of Christians in the region, Catholic investigators said Thursday, March 15.
In the latest incident on March 3, Goresa Mallick, 50, was reportedly killed after meeting a group of 15 Hindus around his Salimagocha village. AsiaNews, a Catholic news service, quoted local Christians as saying that he was attacked by the men, who cut his throat and then proceeded to burn his body in the woods.
The next day, his family reportedly found his remains. Police detained the alleged murderers who allegedly justified the killing by accusing the victim of “witchcraft”. Goresa Mallick had converted to Catholicism five months earlier, Christians said.
A day earlier, laborer Suryakant Nayak, an Protestant Christian of Bakingia village in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, was murdered at night, but his body was discovered only several days later lying in a well, Christians said.
Local police and fire fighters managed to recover his human remains from the well in the Raika area, to which his village belongs, according to rights investigators.
Christians said he was mistreated and his body showed signs of struggle. His hands were reportedly broken, while his mouth was without teeth and his lips showed injuries too. It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the killing, however “This is the sixth murder of Christians in Kandhamal during past 14 months. It is a matter of much concern,” said priest Prabodh Pradhan in published comments.
Local Christians said police declined to register a murder case. There was no immediate response from authorities. The attack allegedly took place after Nayak, a daily wage earner, went to the local Utkal Gramya Bank at nearby Raikia, along with his mother and three daughters, to withdraw 1500 Indian Rupees ($30).
After they purchased some items from that money, his mother and children returned home, while he stayed behind, Christians said. He was reported as missing the next day and the family was eventually informed by the village chief that he had died, according to investigators. Suryakant Nayak is survived by three daughters aged 5, 7 and 9.
His widowed mother “refuses to be consoled”, local Christians said. “What is scary is the fact that the government is not concerned about the occasional killing of Christians in Orissa, and that the police is conducting its investigation slowly and carelessly,” added Sajan George, president of the advocacy group Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
OVER 100 KILLED
At least over 100 people, most of them Christians, in 2008 alone, when Hindu militants attacked churches and other Christian properties, according to rights investigators. Recent killings show a new trend, Christian leaders say. “The high rate of acquittals and the low rate of conviction in connection with the 2008 pogrom have encouraged right-wing Hindu nationalists,” George said in comments published by AsiaNews.
“They feel they have total immunity from the authorities and can thus threaten and intimidate the Christian minority with impunity.”
Additionally in Kandhamal District, where most violence took place, “the failure to bring Hindu extremists to justice” is compounded by the fact that “Christians are ostracized,” he added. Christians comprise just over 2 percent of India’s over 1 billion people, who are mainly Hindu, according to several estimates.
Nationalist Hindu groups openly oppose the spread of Christianity, especially among dalits, deemed the lowest caste in India’s ancient system of Hinduism.