Missionary School Headmaster Brutally Beaten in Rajasthan

Madhu Chandra | ASSIST News Service | Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Missionary School Headmaster Brutally Beaten in Rajasthan

Fact Finding Team of the All India Christian Council Will Visit Jaipur

RAJASTHAN, INDIA -- On April 22, 2007, a Christian school Headmaster cum Pastor was mercilessly beaten in the capital of Rajasthan, a northwestern Indian state known as “The land of kings.”

The incident took place in full daylight and less than half a kilometer away from the Rajasthan Chief Minister’s residence and was fully covered by local television cameras. Mr. Walter Massey was shown bleeding from the face and head while inside his house. Masked Sangh Parivar fanatics repeatedly beat him with sticks and iron rods. He was admitted at the emergency ward of Sawai Man Singh Medical College Hospital at Jaipur. He suffers with severe external and internal injuries.

About 20 to 25 Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and Bajrang Dal activists forcibly entered Mr. Massey’s house and vandalized property. His wife, Mrs. Joyce, and their children watched helplessly.

Mr. Robert Massey, a neighbor, rushed to the local police station and told authorities about the intruders. By the time the police forces reached the spot, the culprits had run away.

According to Mrs. Joyce, her husband has been threatened by VHP activists to close down the church that was running in his house.

Speaking to Headline Today, a national TV channel, Mr. Anil Panilwal, City Superintendent of Police, said he didn’t know if Hindutva forces were involved but steps are being taken to identify the culprits.

Union Minister of State for Home, Mr. Prakash Jaiswal, has condemned the attack. He has appealed to the Rajasthan state government to set up an enquiry and punish all those involved in the crime.

Speaking to Headlines Today, VHP State General Secretary, Mr. Virender Singh, has denied the hand of the VHP in the attack. But he refused to condemn such attacks. “Why was he beaten up? That reason must be clear,” said Mr. Singh.

Mrs. Tehmina Arora, General Secretary of the Christian Legal Association, said that the attack on Pastor Massey whether or not the VHP and Sangh Parivar were behind this attack, they have been shown to be behind other attacks in the state. She condemned Mr. Singh’s party for propagating a hate campaign against Christians, which leads to these type of attacks.

Mr. Panilwal told the All India Christian Council (AICC) that some of the intruders and culprits have been identified and steps have been taken to arrest them. He is meeting senior police officials to pursue further action.

The All India Christian Council has set up a fact finding team to be led by Dr. John Dayal, Member of the National Integration Council and AICC Secretary General.

After the BJP came in power in Rajasthan, the attack on Christian minorities has increased. Emmanuel Ministries at Kota was targeted when its founder and Archbishop MA Thomas and his son, Dr. Samuel Thomas, were issued non-bailable warrant due to alleged sales of the controversial book “Haqeekat”.

The state BJP government passed an anti-conversion bill in 2006, which the state governor refused to sign into the law. Many believe it violates the fundamental rights given in the Indian Constitution.

Headline Today reported that, since the BJP came to power, nearly 200 missionary institutions have been shut down and Christian minorities are living in fear of attach from fanatic groups.

© 2007 ASSIST News Service, used with permission