Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Justice for persecuted Christians in India

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Mar 07, 2016

In 2008, a frightening burst of anti-Christian violence broke out in India’s remote Kandhamal region, leaving more than 100 dead and driving more than 50,000 people from their homes. Anto Akkara, a frequent contributor to Catholic World News, has won international acclaim for his dogged investigation of that violence. He has also given the world the astonishing, inspiring story of how the persecuted Christians endured, clung to their faith, and eventually converted many of the militant Hindus who had persecuted them.

The violence began when a prominent Hindu-nationalist leader, Swami Lakshmanananda, was murdered. The crime was soon traced to a Maoist group, but militant Hindus nevertheless held Christians—all Christians—responsible. That’s when the violence began.

In a chaotic climate of violence, seven illiterate Christian men were convicted of involvement in the killing—in a stampeded trial, with virtually no evidence presented. Anto Akkara has now demonstrated their innocence, and is seeking to win them a new trial. Toward that end, he has launched a petition drive, hoping to generate some international pressure on India’s leaders to take a fresh look at this miscarriage of justice.

If you’d like to be involved in this effort to right a terrible wrong, please add your name to Anto’s petition.

You can learn a bit more about the petition drive here.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Apr. 28, 2016 11:50 PM ET USA

    Thank you, Phil! Introduction to the Code by St. John Paul says "As a matter of fact, the Code of Canon Law is extremely necessary for the Church. Since the Church is organized as a social and visible structure, it must also have norms: in order that its hierarchical and organic structure be visible; in order that the exercise of the functions divinely entrusted to it, especially that of sacred power and of the administration of the sacraments, may be adequately organized..." etc. Worth reading.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Apr. 28, 2016 11:19 PM ET USA

    "Church law, developed and refined over the centuries, represents a storehouse of wisdom about human nature and human frailty." What traditional Catholics feared early on, in a word was ignorance- ignorance among the faithful- both pastors and laity. Ignorance can lead to rejection of wisdom- even among the well-intentioned. Photo-op replaces canon; slogan replaces axiom. Doubt replaces confidence. Church Law serves as "connective tissue" that fortifies us as believers and doers in Christ.

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Apr. 28, 2016 4:54 PM ET USA

    The best treatment of this I know of is in an essay in G.K. Chesterton’s 1929 book, The Thing, in the chapter entitled, “The Drift from Domesticity”. The principle being if you don't see why a fence is there and so want to tear it down, Chesterton won't let you. If, after understanding why it was put up, you still want to tear it down, maybe you can.

  • Posted by: loumiamo - Apr. 28, 2016 4:48 PM ET USA

    Good points, Phil. And as Catholics we might ask, as regards Canon Law, doesn't it make sense to see in it 2000 years of truthful, fruitful guidance by the Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us in John 16:13?