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Re: An Open Letter to Shri Chowgule




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Professor Subroto Roy wrote:

>Dear Shri Chowgule,
>
>You have been quoted in the press as having said that the Australian
>missionary Mr. Graham Staines had "brandished" a pistol, whereas his
>widow
>has been quoted as having said he could not have done as he had none.
>A
>debate at IPI has touched upon the killing of Mr. Staines and I wonder
>if
>you may be so kind as to inform us of the answers to these questions
>which
>arise:
>
>1.  Have you been quoted correctly?
>2.  If so, what is the basis in evidence of the information that Mr.
>Staines
>had brandished a firearm?
>3.  Even if he had done so, would that not have been justified in
>self-defence and in defence of his children?
>4.  In general, does the VHP's interpretation of our common Hindu
>beliefs or
>doctrines suggest there to be no right of self-defence?
>

Another newsgroup has produced a detailed report on the incident as
published in an Oriya Weekly, RASHTRADEEP. This report provides many
hitherto unknown facts relevant to Professor Roy's posers. The report is

reproduced below:

Ram Narayanan

(From a Oriya Weekly from Cuttack, Orissa, on Jan 26, 1999.)

Australian Father Burnt Alive: Spot Report from Manoharpur


Manoharpur is a remote village of Keonjhar district, Odisha which is 100

kms from district headquarter Keonjhargarh, 46 kms from the
sub-divisional head quarter Anandapur.  It is very poorly communicated.
It is border village of both Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar district.  These
two sister districts were ruled by Bhanja dynasty, having native tribes
of Bhuyans, Santhals and Majhis.  These tribes are very much cultured
and disciplined.  Several times they revolted against injustice and
foreign rule.  They pray God in the name of nature, plants and soil
(Motherland) & natural resources are plenty till today.  Always these
tribes think themselves as the kingmaker and saviour of royal dynasty.

Graham Stewart Steins
Australian father Graham Steins came to Odisha in Jan 1965.  He
established his centre at Baripada the dist.  Head quarter of
Mayurbhanj, famous as a cultured town of mother Odisha.  Graham started
his missionary work through Evangelical Mission, Baptist Church (at
Baripada), World Vision of India with a coverage of leprosy centre at
Baripada which is not at all a leprosy prone area.  In 1980 he
established a missionary Church (Thatched house) at Manoharpur (Kacha
Sahi) about 150 kms from Baripada, and recently VRO and NGO is suspected

to be working for conversion.  His family consisted of Mr.  Graham
Stewart Steins (55), his wife-Glades Steins (45), daughter Easter (13),
son Philips Steins (12) & Timoti Steins (9).  Though Steins family have
been staying here since last 34 years they did not take the citizenship
of India.  Every time administration was in difficult position to deal
him as he stayed in Mayurbhanj dist, but operating in Keonjhar district.

Conversion Started
The Baripada Mission Church leader is Nimain Hansda.  His sister got
married to Shyam Marandi of Manoharpur and became Martha Marandi.
Through her Graham started converting Hindu Santhals (tribe) in
Manoharpur and adjacent area.  Latest position of converted Santhals and

Kolha in that area - (which was 100% non-Christian in 1980):
Manoharpur - 24 families, Sanakusapada - 6, Tulasibani - 15, Baniajodi -

3, Palabani - 3, Pathaveda - 5.  Now 56 families were converted at a
time.

Conversion Process
Contact persons gather them in Jungle Camp for 3-4 days, allow all young

girls & boys to stay together, perform marriages, preach Bible, show
video and audio films of Jesus Christ and finally convert them through
Duban.

This years' Jungle Camp (Mela)
This year Graham Steins organised Jungle camp from Jan 20 to 24th,
1999.  Everyday there was a feast of meat and rice with local alcoholic
preparation Handia.  Massive drive of meetings and showing of films were

conducted for 3 to 4 days.  400 people were targeted to be converted on
24th Jan.  56 families were converted on 22nd.  Every thing was under
the leadership of Graham Stewart Steins and his battalion of 10
preachers from Cuttack and Baripada.

Tension
Due to the activities of Graham there was tension from 1981.  The then
collector Fanibhushan Dash reported concern over conversion and rising
tension among Santhals.  Every year tribes perform Maker Sankranti (Jan
14) and Raja Sankranti (Jun 14-16) with pump and ceremony.  But every
year this was being opposed by converted Christians by performing
ploughing etc.,  which is a act of sin in those Sankranti as per their
tradition.  This year also that happened.  So administration was
compelled since 10-15 years to deploy police force during those Hindu
functions in that locality every year.

Leadership
And therefore self declared leadership was developed in each episode of
group clashes (Regd.  FIR, cases are there in every year against each
other) between converted and non-converted Santhals and Kolhas.  Which
Dara Singh assumed leadership of Santhals, Shyam Sundar Marandi, Ragadi
Sara and youngster Salman Marandi took the leadership of Santhal
Christians.

Politics
This area is a traditional stronghold of Congress.  Two eminent
ministers Sri Jaydev Jena (Mass Education) and Niranjan Pattnaik
(Industry & Mines) belong to the same sub-division Anandpur, in this J.
B.  Pattnaik ministry.  Dara Singh having many warrants against him in
police stations of the district was still active under the political
safe-arm of this ministers, which is a known fact.  This fact is going
to be covered in the name of Bajrang Dal, conspired by the congress
ministry, by police DGP's statement.  Madhavrao Scindia instigated the
villagers to tell the name of Bajrang Dal.  He also assured the backing
of congress during his recent tour of the affected area.  During last
four years almost all disturbances of Keonjhar district is only because
of the two infighting groups of the ruling party led by two ministers,
is an open secret.  For reference, Mr Niranjan Pattnaik happens to be a
close relative of the chief minister Mr Janaki Ballava Pattnaik and Mr
Jaydev Jena belongs to the camp deputy Chief Minister, Basanta Biswal.

That dreadful Night:
During the third week of Jan 1999, Graham Steins and his 10 preachers,
including Australian Gilbert Venj, two lectures from Cuttack namely
Subhankar Ghosh and Rajendra Swain, and others from Baripada, conducted
a massive tour and propaganda in that area, conducting village meetings,

showing films regarding Jesus Christ, and mobilising many people to be
converted.  It resulted an undercurrent of protest and tension among the

Santhals.  The usual process of conversion the 'jungle camp' started
from 20th inside the temporary thatched house constructed specially for
the converts.  In the midday of 22nd, the conversion of 56 families and
the declaration of further target of converting 200 camp mates on 24th
spread fire of revolt among the Santhals very rapidly in many adjacent
villages.  Many angry Santhals and Kolhas gathered in that area in the
midnight as a suo motto eruption of their anger of last 18 years, when
the jungle camp was sleeping.  The angry mob targeted the vehicles
ORM-1208 and ORM-952, which carried the preachers conducting the massive

tour, started damaging them.  By this time Graham, who was sleeping
inside ORM-1208, covered with bundles of dry straw, woke up and
threatened the mob with pistol firing.  Seeing the pistol the mob took
it as a challenge and attacked him with arrow and finally burnt the
vehicle.  The dry bundles of straw made it easy to burn the vehicle and
difficult for Graham Steins to come out with his two sons, resulting the

fearful death of all of them.


And many questions:
1- Whether the organisers of Jungle camp in formed the authority about
the camp or not?
2- Jungle camp going on and no police protection, why?
3- Police deployment in every Raja Sankranti and Makar Sankranti but why

not during the jungle camp
4- Only Graham was attacked and not the church or the other Christians,
why?
5- No local leader and jungle camp mates came for rescue?
6- Why the mob was not opposed?
7- Where the other preachers were, doing what?
8- As per the Christians 20 to 80 persons came to attack, which can be
countered easily by the jungle camp mates, which did not happen, why?
9- Why only ORM-1208 was covered with dray straw?
10- The driver of other vehicle ORM-952 not inside, why?
11- If people left for jungles (as per Christians) and others were
inside their closed house, then why the mob did not attack anybody
having a free hand for that?
12- Nobody on behalf of the Christian rushed to the police station, why?

13- Why police reached the spot the next day morning, 9 hours after the
incident?
14- Is there any previous groupism between the local and non Indian
Christian?
15- Is there any support for this incident from the local Christian
leaders due to leadership, administrative and financial questions?
16- According to medical authorities Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj district
are not at all in the map of leprosy prone area of the state.  Then why
Graham started a leprosy center there?
17- Whether service to Santhals disconnect them socially from other
Santhals that hurt them since last long?
18- Is it an international conspiracy of creating communal disturbances
involving Christians and pressurising from western white countries to
dethrone this Vajpayee led Government?
19- Whether English media particularly the New Indian Express is a handy

work of that conspiracy and so giving such preplanned baseless statement

involving VHP & Bajrang Dal ?
20- Though law and order is a state chapter, why some political groups
and leaders blaming the central Government?  Are they acting as per the
conspiracy?
21- As a part of that conspiracy the state administration is not acting
as per the Freedom of Religion Act (1969), Orissa.
22- Also the police authority acting to that international conspiracy,
stating the involvement of Bajrang Dal without visualising the spot and
the incident.

Condemnations:
1- Almost all national and regional political parties have condemned
this cruel act including BJP, BJD and Congress.
2- Leftist wagon and Janata Dal condemned this act but traditionally
blamed RSS, VHP & Bajrang Dal.
3- RSS, VHP & Bajrang Dal having no organisational works in that area,
then why to blame them?
4- Many organisations also condemned this heinous crime, of which state
RSS, VHP & Bajrang Dal are in the fore front.


A special report by Shri Subash Chouhan,
RASTRADEEP, Narisangha Sadan Chhak, Buxi Bazar, Cuttack 753 001. Tel:
(0671) 60 1552.





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