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By Deacon Keith Fournier

3/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

I will continue to write about the plight of our brothers and sisters in the land evangelized by the Apostle Thomas, India.

What is happening in India is as dangerous to the fundamental human right to Religious Freedom as the evil onslaught of violent Islamic Jiahdism. It is a form of Hindu Nationalism which is determined to turn India into a Hindu State and compel adherence to a version of Hinduism which has no room for the fundamental right to Religious Freedom of Christians or other religious believers. The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was fully revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one's own faith - a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God's grace in freedom of conscience.

Sister Meena Barwa

Sister Meena Barwa

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/19/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: anti-Christian persecution, Sr Meena, Hindu fundamentalism, Sister Meena Barwa, Mumbai, Orissa, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Deacon Keith Fournier



MUMBAI, India (Catholic Online) - One of the subjects I often write about is the alarming spread of persecution against Christians. Asia news reported possible collusion between public officials and Hindu Nationalist Fundamentalists behind the distressingly unjust verdict in the case of Sister Meena Barwa. She was raped on August 25, 2008.

Nirmala Carvalho reported earlier in the week that "a Cuttack district court sentenced three people and acquitted six others for the gang rape of Sister Meena Barwa, carried out by Hindu fundamentalists during the anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal (Orissa) in 2008. Originally 10 people were accused of having violated the nun. Nine were arrested, one was never found.

Sr. Meena, of the Servite religious order, worked in Divyajyoti pastoral center in K Nuagaon (Kandhamal district), alongside Fr. Thomas Chellan. On 25 August 2009, together with the priest she was seized, beaten, stripped naked and dragged through the village.

At one point, the fundamentalists wanted to burn her alive together with the priest. Instead, they raped her. They were only freed by police late in the evening, after continuous beating and torture.

The nun's uncle is Msgr. John Barwa, the Archbishop of Cuttack -Bhubaneshwar, who has supported and accompanied her in the long rehabilitation process and during the trial. In 2010, the Orissa High Court transferred the case from a district court in Kandhamal to Cuttack
, because the victim had expressed concern for her life. A total of 29 witnesses were heard.

My readers have followed my reports concerning the horrid treatment of Catholics and other Christians by some nationalist, fundamentalist Hindus in India.

We must never forget the martyr, Fr. Thomas Pandippally, of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate. On August 16, 2008 he watered the ground of India with his blood. This holy priest was martyred at the hands of Hindu extremists in Orissa, India precisely because he was a Christian. I wrote a tribute entitled RIP: Fr. Thomas Pandippally, Martyr of a New Missionary Age
 
I will  continue to write about the plight of our brothers and sisters in the land evangelized by the Apostle Thomas, India. I will not stop until it stops. India has a wonderful Christian history. The Nation has given the Church many saints, including St Alfonsa, and, in the process of canonization, Blessed "Mother" Teresa.

What is happening in India is as dangerous to the fundamental human right to Religious Freedom as the evil onslaught of violent Islamic Jiahdism. It is a form of Hindu Nationalism which is determined to turn India into a Hindu State and compel adherence to a version of Hinduism which has no room for the fundamental right to Religious Freedom of Christians or other religious believers.

The leading proponents of this movement against fundamental human rights such as the right to religious freedom are adherents to "Hindutva", a kind of Hindu Nationalism, a sort of Hindu version of the Islamist Jihadists.

One of the political expressions of this Hindu nationalism is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. (RSS) It purports to propagate "Hindu Culture". They want to establish a "Hindu Nation" in India. Just take the time to research these folks and you will see why they are such a threat to religious freedom in India.

For example, a blatantly unjust law like the "Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act of 2008" was used to deny religious freedom while using the term "freedom of religion". Oh, I know, some of my readers around the globe at this point may be wondering if, to use the old adage, people "who live in glass houses should throw stones".
 
I acknowledge that my own Nation, the United States of America, is struggling for air under a secularist ideology entrenched in power. The current administration in the US uses the phrase "religious freedom" while it increasingly denies it. I am doing all I can to stop this advance of an anti-Christian persecution  in my own country.

The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was fully revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one's own faith - a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God's grace in freedom of conscience.

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