During 2012, there were approximately 135 anti-Christian attacks in India, Most of these occured in Karnataka state, which is ruled by the Hindu nationalist BJP party. This fact emerged in a report released to recall the gruesome murder of an Australian missioner 14 years ago. The report, by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), was released on January 23, which was observed as a "Day of Martyrs" by some Christians so as to commemorate the sacrifice of Pastor Graham Staines and his two sons, who were burned alive by Hindus on that date in 1999.
The report was presented by Methodist Bishop Sampath Kumar and shows that 41 cases of attacks occured in Karnataka. Following was Orissa with 16, and the others in line were Tamil Nadu with 15 cases and Madhya Pradesh 14.
In Chhattisgarh there are seven incidents of attacks, while Kashmir and Kerala recorded five incidents each. Bishop Kumar said of the report, that "the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christian faith" according to Christian tradition, while Christians believe those who were killed for their faith are "today in the presence of the Lord." He added,
"The persecution allows us to participate in the sufferings of Christ; secondly, to lead a purified life; thirdly, to proclaim the Gospel of Christ."
Some 600 Christian leaders from different parts of India gathered in Bangalore to remember the murdered Pastor Staines and his sons. .
Many of them reported testimonies of persecuted Christians and details of attacks against Christian communities. It was overnight on January 22-23, 1999 when Hindu nationalists set alight the vehicle in which Staines and his sons Philip, 9, and Timothy, 7, were asleep in the village of Manoharpur in Keonjhar District of Orissa.
In 2006, Staines' widow, Gladys, and her surviving daughter, Esther, came back to live in Orissa. She said she forgave Dara Singh, the man responsible for the murders.
Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.