Christian Youths Turn to Militancy

October 11, 2008

Author: Shaikh Azizur Rahman

Source: The National

Christian youths in the eastern state of Orissa have turned to militancy by teaming up with local Maoists. Police are concerned that if anti-Christian riots continue, the Christians may also join forces with Muslim militants to take on Hindus.

The shift follows seven weeks of violence triggered by the killing of a local Hindu leader, Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, a leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council, or VHP) with critics claiming authorities are failing to rein in the armed Hindu activists who are attacking Christians.

Chandrasekhar Pattnaik, a police officer with the intelligence branch, said: “Some of these Christian militants might have joined or helped the Maoists in killing Laxmananda Saraswati and his associates in August.

“The arrested militants have confessed to their links with Maoist guerrillas hiding in jungles and we think the Maoists have trained these Christian youths in jungle camps since some years ago.”

Some security analysts worry the Maoist-Christian alliance could lead to a rise of terrorism in the region and Christian militancy could soon spread to other states.