Evangelicals blaspheme Hinduism. Media abetting the crime – HAF responses to media
“Violence in India is fueled by religious and economic divide,” by Hari Kumar and Heather Timmons (Asia Pacific, September 3)
The Hindu American Foundation wrote this letter to the New York Times in response to an article that presented a skewed and inaccurate detailing of the murder/assasination of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and the riots that subsequently ensued between Christian and Hindu tribal communities. The original article was published on September 3.
To the Editor:
"Violence in India Is Fueled by Religious and Economic Divide," by Hari Kumar and Heather Timmons (Asia Pacific, September 3), is dually disturbing: in the depiction of tragic killings and for its glaring omissions and errors. In labeling a Hindu ascetic and reformer a "radical," while failing to acknowledge his varied social services, the Times alarmingly seems to justify a brutal assassination. Independent reports that the Hindu and Christian convert riots are actually the brutal endgame resulting from inter-tribal rivalries intensified by the pursuit of ludicrously complex affirmative action benefits was also ignored in the report.
One can only wonder why the Times sought to present a story of Christian victimization by "radical" Hindus, when the sordid events playing out in India are the obvious results of unethical religious conversions that polarize families and communities and aggravate long-standing social conflicts.
Aseem R. Shukla, M.D.
Member, Board of Directors
Hindu American Foundation
"Hindu Threat to Christians: Convert or Flee," by Somini Sengupta,October 13, 2008.
Dear Editor, New York Times:
Re: "Hindu Threat to Christians: Convert or Flee," by Somini Sengupta,October 13, 2008.
As Hindu Americans, we unequivocally condemn and repudiate all of the violence consuming Orissa today. That the New York Times would engage in blatant, inflammatory race-baiting with the front-page headline above is shocking. If the intention is to spuriously allege that marauding Hindus across India are contemporary actors emulating the Crusades or the Islamic conquests--then mission accomplished!
Telling are the omissions in Sengupta's reporting, that a) four others were brutally killed with Swami Laxmananda, including a female monk; b) Swami Laxmananda was more than a "preacher"--he was a Hindu social worker devoted to social upliftment in a neglected region; and c) all of the ostensibly Maoist assassins arrested in the killings of the Swami and his aides were Christian converts.
The tragedy unfolding in Orissa state results from the venomousamalgam of the Swami's murder, and Hindu radicals in the area inflamed by evangelicals blaspheming Hinduism as they seek to meet quotas of new converts in a wild west battle for souls. Pluralism and respect for the tribals' indigenous Hindu traditions became the first casualty that opened the door to the madness seen today.