Earlier this week I reported on projections for 2008 about the persecution of Christians. One of the places I mentioned briefly was India. Here's a story that will show just how dire the situation is in those parts of India where radical Hindus can apparently run wild.
According to a report a government minister in the state of Orissa, has resigned following communal violence in which rampant radical Hindus attacked a group of people from various Christian denominations who had erected a tent and were gathered for Christmas celebrations. 500 furious Hindus attacked the tent; reportedly some of the Hindus fired weapons while others used sticks and swords to attack and injure their victims. In addition in the days following, 13 churches were demolished or razed to the ground, three Christians were shot dead and several others injured.
The minister, Padmanabha Behera, who represents the local district in the state parliament, met the Chief Minister of Orissa at his residence on December 28 and tendered his resignation.
"I decided to step down from the minister's post owning full moral responsibility for the violence and disruption of communal harmony in my district," he told the media.
"In the last few days, misinformation and misleading statements in my district were spread through media. In order to remove this public misconception and to restore age-old harmony between Scheduled Castes and Tribes in my district, I decided to tender my resignation," he said.
It seems that all sides were happy to see the minister resign. A lot of this violence is tied into the Indian caste system. In the Christian Church there are no castes. It appears that there was a move afoot to grant tribal status to converted Christians who hailed from the tribal area dominated by the radical Hindus. A Hindu Community Rights organization opposed the grant and sparked the fatal violence and arson. That organization called for the minister's resignation. Minister Behera said, "I am a victim of a conspiracy hatched by my opposition by political opponents."
It is difficult to see how his resignation will cool the situation. Radical Hindus will never give up their "Holy War" until they are soundly defeated-and no state government is going to display the necessary intestinal fortitude to confront the people on whom it depends to keep it in power.
These are testing times for believers in parts of India. If any good comes out of the December massacre, perhaps it will be that some of our politicians may follow the Indian minister's lead and take moral responsibility-and resign because of the disastrous results of their political theories and policies.