Tuesday, July 21, 2009Download All Stories
Death threats buffet India prosecutions of Orissa strifeNEW DELHI (BP)--Nearly 11 months after an unprecedented wave of anti-Christian attacks shook the eastern-India state of Orissa, a reign of terror continues in the region, with former rioters issuing death threats to witnesses.
Of more than 750 cases filed in various police stations in Orissa's Kandhamal and Gajapati districts, only one has resulted in a conviction. Some trials are underway amid reports of armed extremists threatening to kill witnesses.
Dibya Paricha, a clergyman in the Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Catholic Archdiocese, said several witnesses are shrinking away to save their lives. On July 9, a witness in the village of Salapsahi refused to testify in a murder case.
"During the trial, the complainant, the younger brother of the victim, said he did not know anything about the case," Paricha, coordinator of the Christian Legal Association's (CLA) legal cell in Kandhamal, told Compass Direct News. "The previous day, he had said that he would tell the truth so that the culprits would be punished.... From a reliable source, we came to know that he was threatened with death."
On June 30, three men carrying pistols -- Sanjeeb Pradhan, Bikram Pradhan and Pratap Pradhan -- threatened witnesses in the Gondaguda area of Kandhamal, Paricha said.
The three men have been issuing death threats to witnesses through area villages, he said.
"I know them [the three gunmen] personally," Paricha said. "They were living hand-to-mouth until recently, and now they are riding a motor vehicle and threatening the survivors."
Information on the threats has been provided to the sub-collector (an administrative officer in charge of a sub-district), the sub-divisional police officer and the district collector (administrative head), Paricha said, and a First Information Report has been registered at the local police station.
Another witness and complainant in an Orissa riot-related case, 55-year-old Batia Digal, was threatened June 17, Paricha said. Gobida Chandra Pradhan from the village of Piserama and Shricharnan Mohan Pradhan from the village of Dodaingia tried to pressure Digal to withdraw the case, in which a local legislator from the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Manoj Pradhan, is one of the accused. Read More
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Extra Lottie gifts yield more missionaries
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IMB President Jerry Rankin expressed appreciation to individuals, churches and Baptist entities for their additional financial support in response to a drop in Lottie Moon receipts.... Read More
Retired Tenn. exec Tom Madden dies
SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Tom Madden, 90, executive director/treasurer of the Tennessee Baptist Convention from 1979-89, died Sunday, July 19, in Shelbyville, Tenn.
A native of Enid, Okla., Madden came to Tennessee in 1951 to serve as pastor of First Baptist Church in Greenbrier after serving as a pastor in both his home state and in Texas. His ministry would continue in Tennessee for the remainder of his life. Even after his retirement as executive director, he remained active in serving va... Read More
FIRST-PERSON: Starting a Great Commission Resurgence
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--The Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., voted overwhelmingly to approve the motion to allow our president, Johnny Hunt, to appoint a task force to assist Southern Baptists to become more intentional and more effective in fulfilling the Great Commission. Read More