Raising serious concerns about the escalating attacks against Christian adivasis in Chhattisgarh, a joint fact finding team in their report pointed out the pre-planned conspiracy and role of right-wing Hindu groups. The fact finding team, which included members from AILAJ, AIPF, United Christian Forum and other civil society groups visited Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur and Kondagaon districts in December 2022, also found the failure of the administration to protect the community. The team met survivors of the violence and interacted with non-Christian Adivasis, local administration and members of local civil society organisations.
Last year, just before Christmas, hundreds of Christian Adivasis in Narayanpur and Kondagaon were forced to flee their homes after violent threats. According to the report, “.. the top (District level) RSS and BJP leaders were organizing meetings, giving hate speeches against Christians in the months of October and November 2022 in different areas and villages both in Narayanpur and Kondagaon Districts.”
The pre-planned attacks on Christian Adivasis were orchestrated to force them to Hindu fold, part of Sangh’s nefarious Ghar Vapsi campaign across India. The report notes that Christians were clearly told that if they refused to give up Christianity then they wouldn’t be allowed to stay in the villages. They were threatened that their houses will be burnt down and their land will be taken away if they continue to practice Christianity.
The report cites the example of an incident in Madamnar village, where around 20 Christian families were forcibly taken to the village tihad (temple) where the priest declared them to be Hindus after performing some rituals. The rest of the Christians, including women and children who refused to give up Christianity were severely beaten up with lathis and were kicked.
Chhattisgarh, a state with about 32 per cent Adivasi population, has allegedly witnessed more than 500 attacks on Christians over the past four years of Baghel le Congress regime. It has approximately 2% of Christian population in the state.
It was observed that in some villages the villagers cut the drinking water supply to Christian families. For some Christian families irrigation water was also prohibited. In a few villages, the Christian Anganwadi workers and cooks for schools were prohibited.
The Christians were displaced and forced to leave the village and go about 2 kms away from their village and were warned not to return. The fact finding team also notes that the police and local administration remained a mute spectator as violence unfolded. The report notes that “They [police] did not register any FIRs nor initiated any legal proceedings, and advised the Christian vishwasus [belivers] to give up their faith in order to restore peace.”
On January 2, 2023, just a few weeks after the fact-finding was completed, large-scale violence against Christians unfolded and a church was vandalised in Narayanpur. In the incident, the president of the BJP’s Narayanpur district unit was arrested, pointing towards the pre-planned conspiracy by the Sangh brigade as flagged by the fact-finding team.
The fact-finding team in their report has demanded that an SIT should be constituted under the supervision of the Supreme Court or High Court to investigate the offences committed against Christian Adivasis. Furthermore, the report called upon the state to provide adequate compensation to affected families and ensure security to Christian adivasis in the state.