Your God or mine? Orissa burning
Not many Indians would have known where Kandhamal is on the country's map or even that it is a part of the state of Orissa.
But Kandhamal is burning and the world has sat up to take note.
For nearly two weeks, Dalit Christians have been attacked in this district. Officially, 16 people are dead, hundreds injured, and thousands have fled their villages.
On the ground, Christian groups say, the numbers are higher. From Khurda to Koraput to Jagatsinghpur, Dalit Christian homes and churches have been targeted and burnt to the ground.
It began long ago
We hear so much about persecution of Christians and others by the hand of Islam, but little is known that the so-called "tolerant" religion of Hinduism is persecuting Christians, many who were formerly from the Dalit (untouchables) caste -- the lowest castes in the Hindu religion. Dalits have to stay out of everybody's way, lest they pollute a higher caste member by stepping on their shadow. These people have to drink out of cheap pottery cuplets and break them afterwards, lest someone from a higher caste accidently drink from it and become tainted.
Indian Dalits comprise nearly 1/3 of the total Indian population -- a massive 250 - 300 million people. They have been an oppressed "outcast" majority for over 3000 years. Hinduism considers the Dalits a soulless people with no connection to Brahma. Their existence is a distinct Indian social institution that legitimizes and enforces practices of discrimination of the Dalits that are humiliating, exclusionary and exploitive.
Is it any wonder, the Dalits have turned to the freedom and respect Christianity has to offer them? According to the New Testament Bible, everyone is equal in the Christian faith. Christianity poses a dilemnaand threatens the Hindu caste system, when the untouchables and Dalits leave the Hindu faith to practice Christianity. In Orissa, persecution has reached the tipping point. More information can be found about the Dalits and their quest for freedom at www.dalitfreedom.net.
Video of the recent violence and burnings in Orissa, India . Christians fear this will spread across India.