Church should introspect on the SC judgment on Graham Stains case

published on January 27, 2011

By R. L Francis

We do not know about Justice Niyogi report. Anti-conversion bill is an attack on our freedom. D. P. Wadhwa report is a bunch of lies. Justice S C Mahapatra Commission report seems to have rightists influence, so it is not even worth to discuss.

After saying all this, now the Church has shown their displeasure about comments made by the two learned judges in the murder case of Graham Stains and his two children. Their logic is: it will have bad effect on Kandhamal case.

Church denies everything that raises finger on their functioning. Questions are being asked about the functioning of Church and many agencies and organisations have found them guilty of conversion. However, Indian Church thoroughly rejects such reports. Recently, Supreme Court has commented on Church and now Church leaders should introspect.

Supreme Court has maintained life sentence of Dara Singh and has rejected central government demand of giving him death sentence. Accomplice Mahendra Hembram has also been given life sentence by the apex court. Another 11 accused have been freed by the court. CBI were demanding death sentence in this case.

Graham Stains and his two sons Philip and Timothy were burnt alive in Manoharpur village of Kyonjhar district of Odisha on January 22, 1999 by a furious mob. Graham was engaged with many social activities. There was also tension in the area regarding his ‘other’ activities. Non-Christians organisations had accused him of running conversion activities in the garb of social work.

Considering the seriousness of crime, Centre had constituted D P Wadhwa Commission just after the gruesome incident. Odisha government had submitted its report within one month. Church and other non-governmental organisations have left no stone unturned in internationalising this incident. Nobody who believes in humanity will support such gruesome act. As per Police record, he had tried to escape from his car but mob captured him. Father and his two sons were burnt alive.

Two judge bench of Supreme Court has said death sentence is given in rare of the rarest cases and it depends on the circumstances. This heinous act is condemnable but it does not fall in that category. So death sentence cannot be given. Learned judges said mob only wanted to teach Stains a lesson because he was involved in conversion.

Supreme Court has criticised any move that tampers with faith of people, using force and greed to change their religion and make them believe that this religion is better than the religion which people are currently following. These tactics cannot be justified. It has also said that conversion attacks on the social fabric imagined by creators of constitution. Mahatma Gandhi had once said that religion will play important role in development of nation. To change the faith of somebody forcibly cannot be justified. This logic is not tenable that one religion is better than other religion.

Church knows that what is the method of conversion? Church has waged a battle in many north-eastern states to increase their strength. There is infighting between Christian missionaries to increase their strength. A catholic Bishop has even demanded in UNO to protect Catholics. Recently, non-catholic Churches have decided that they will not include members of other missionaries in the work.

Today, Church has become imperialistic and it is causing tension between majority Hindus and minority Christians. Those scheduled castes who have been converted are not respected by Church. They have been denied of every right in the Church. Instead of including them in the framework of Church; it is trying to include them as scheduled castes. It is focused on increasing its strength and not on improving standards of its people. Church claims of serving the people. But it should think why Graham Stains is burnt alive by the mob though he was doing social service for the last thirty years? Why people hated him that much? Why people suspect missionaries even after so much contribution to the society? Church should seek answer to these hard-hitting questions.

The author is president of the Poor Christian Liberation Movement (PCLM)

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