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Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Hope in the midst of violence

Chhattisgarh Council of Churches unites churches, Mahila Mandals and organizations to protest and resist atrocities on Women from Minority Christian Community

Rev Dr Atul Arthur Secretary of Regional Council of Churches in Chattisgarh with leaders from Churches and women’s fellowship placing the memorandum to government officials seeking Justice 
Atrocities on Christians are increasing at an alarming rate in India. Worst victims of such atrocities are women and missionaries at the grassroots who have dedicated their lives to serve the community, the poor and the downtrodden. On 19th June, a nun was gang-raped by men in masks in ‘Christo Sahay Health Center’ where she was serving as nurse in Raipur the capital of Chhattisgarh state. ‘Strategized Rape’ is used as a weapon to create fear, shame and humiliate the Christian community which is a minority community in India.

The All India Council of Christian Women and National Council of Churches in India gave a clarion call to women’s fellowship of member Churches and leaders of Chhattisgarh Christian Council (CCC) to respond to end this culture of rape and atrocities of Christian missionaries in India. 


Rev Dr Atul Arthur, Secretary of Regional Council of Churches in Chhattisgarh who was constantly in touch with AICCW and NCCI reported “This incident is nothing but to inflict an environment of fear and insecurity in minds of Christian minorities in Raipur.  However prophetic Church cannot remain silent.” Rev. Samsher Samuel President of CCC and Mr. Ajay Dharamraj member of CCC along with the Mahila Mandal (Women’s Fellowship) of member churches of AICCW took keen initiative to motivate church leaders and others to participate in different forums to protest against this form of violence where women are targeted to shame community.”


Mahila Mandal and Chhattisgarh Council of Churches gathered in front of collector's office to demand security for women, especially from the minority communities in India
Rev Dr Atul Arthur reported that this incident of violence united the Christians, different churches, ecumenical, faith based and women’s organizations to   demand for justice pleading the state government to arrest the culprits immediately. The police was initially totally apathetic to this form of sexual terrorism opined Rev. Dr. Arthur.

Sanyukt Sangharsh Morcha for Justice
The different organizations gathered together under the banner Sanyukt Sangharsh Morcha (United Resistance Rally) for justice. The participating organizations were Chhattisgarh Christian Council, Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, Church of North India, Communist Party of India, Roman Catholic Church,  Lok Swatantra Sangathan, Akhil Bhartiya Janwadi Mahila Samiti, Sanyukta Trade Union Council, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Janwadi Navjawan Sabha, Dalit Mukti Morcha, Samajik Nyay Munch, Chhattisgarh Nagrik Vikas Manch, Kristiya Chetna Manch, Student Christian Movement of India, Women’s Christian Temperance Union in India, Union RDIU, Bible Society of India etc  

Bandh (Strike): A Symbol of Resistance 
On 1st July 2015 all the Christian Organizations and institutes called for a strike as a symbol of protest and remained closed in Chhattisgarh state.
Heavy monsoon rain could not deter the prophetic engagement of local Church
Protest Rallies were organized in different places in Chhattisgarh state like Bilaspur,  Raipur, Korba, Pendra Road, Manandragarh,  Chrmiri. According to Rev. Dr Arthur, “despite the  heavy rain at Pendra Road, crowd  gathered in solidarity  wearing white clothing and black badge/ribbon to mark protest and raised their voice against the apathy of the government to arrest the culprits.  

Outside the Collector’s office Rev. Dr. Atul Arthur addressed the crowd stating the government must provide security to the women, and Christian community workers who have dedicated their lives to serve the poor and society.”  He further said “It’s sad that the police and the present government has failed protect women and taken adequate steps to stop religious intolerance and anti-Christian Campaign in India. 

The demonstrators of the Rally submitted a Memorandum to the Honorable Governor of the State and to the Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh.

All India Council of Christian Women and National Council of Churches in India congratulate Chhattisgarh Council of Churches and its mahila mandal for their prophetic role to break the silence regarding culture of violence on women in our country and demand for justice.

Reported by
Moumita Biswas 
Executive Secretary – All India Council of Christian Women