Christians Attacked, Church Vandalised: States See Violence Against Religious Faith Around Christmas

The incident took place in St Mary's Church at Periyapatna and according to the police the miscreants are on the run. The accused had broken the back door and entered the church.

Adivasi Christians protesting against forceful eviction in front of Narayanpur district Collectorate

Two days after Christmas, a church in Karnataka's Mysuru was vandalised by unknown people, who also damaged the statue of a baby Jesus on Tuesday. 

The incident took place in St Mary's Church at Periyapatna and according to the police the miscreants are on the run. The accused had broken the back door and entered the church.

A church staff saw the damage at 6 pm on Tuesday and immediately alerted the pastor.

"We are scouting for clues from the CCTV footage recorded by nearby cameras. Prima Facie looks like it is theft, as they have made away with money, and also with one collection box that was placed outside the church," said Seema Latkar, Superintendent of Police, Mysuru, reports NDTV. 

However, this is not a single incident where festivals of religious minorities have been attacked by politically-allied outfits in the recent past. 

Santa beaten in Gujarat

On December 20, a man, dressed up as Santa Claus was beaten up by a Hindutva mob in a residential colony in the Makarpura area, Vadodara in Gujarat.

According to media reports, the victim, Shashikant Dabhi, dressed up as Santa Claus entered the Avdhoot society in Makarpura where Christian families were celebrating the Christmas fervour. 

Dabhi entered the society and started distributing chocolates to people and wishing everyone a ‘merry Christmas’.

Soon, he was attacked by a group of people who warned of such a celebration as it was a ‘Hindu-dominated’ area. A clash broke out where four people were injured including a woman while Dhabi was beaten. 
Following Dhabi’s complaint, police said that the investigation is underway. 

Viral video of Santa's effigy burning

A video started doing rounds on social media showing a group of people from a Hindu supremacist organisation burning an effigy of Santa Claus effigy to chants of “Santa Claus Murdabad” (Death to the Santa Claus) on Christmas eve.

Although the time and place of the video have not been confirmed, it shows men and women clad in saffron carrying flags printed with the ‘Om’ symbol. A man, carrying the Santa effigy on his shoulder, also slaps it a few times. 


Mounting attacks in Chhattisgarh 

Ahead of the Christmas celebration, hundreds of Christian tribal people were displaced from their native villages in Chhattisgarh that continue to witness mounting attacks against the minority community. 

According to a report by Scroll, on December 18, hundreds of Christian Adivasi protestors gathered outside the district collectorate in Narayanpur, Chhattisgarh, to demand that the administration ensure their safety. In their complaint submitted to the police, they alleged they had been beaten up and forced to leave their villages because of their faith.

However, the villagers alleged that similar incidents took place across 20 more villages and nearly 40 such similar incidents happened over the past three months.

The attacks were reported in the villages of Borpal, Modenga, Palna, Gohda, Aamasara, Modenga, Kongera, Mainpur, Kibai Balenga, Puswal, Kokdi, Kulhad, Khargaon and Shantinagar, among others.

The district administration has assured the Christian families of necessary action into the matter and the protestors have handed over a memorandum, an official said.

Attacks in other parts of India 

A group of men armed with sticks, attacked a Christmas programme in Uttarakhand's Uttarakashi alleging that forced conversions were being carried out there. The incident took place last Friday.

In Uttar Pradesh, two people were arrested on Monday for allegedly converting people to Christianity.