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den4
21-01-05, 06:34
LINK (http://in.news.yahoo.com/050116/139/2j1rp.html)

This story is just "wrong." I don't care which religion they belong to, but this is the ultimate abuse of power and should be considered a human rights issue, and maybe a crime against humanity...


Top Stories
Sunday January 16, 5:13 PM

Villagers furious with Christian Missionaries

Samanthapettai, Jan 16 (ANI): Rage and fury has gripped this tsunami-hit tiny Hindu village in India's southern Tamil Nadu after a group of Christian missionaries allegedly refused them aid for not agreeing to follow their religion.

Samanthapettai, near the temple town of Madurai, faced near devastation on the December 26 when massive tidal waves wiped it clean of homes and lives.

Most of the 200 people here are homeless or displaced , battling to rebuild lives and locating lost family members besides facing risks of epidemic,disease and trauma.

Jubilant at seeing the relief trucks loaded with food, clothes and the much-needed medicines the villagers, many of who have not had a square meal in days, were shocked when the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water.

Heated arguments broke out as the locals forcibly tried to stop the relief trucks from leaving. The missionaries, who rushed into their cars on seeing television reporters and the cameras refusing to comment on the incident and managed to leave the village.

Disappointed and shocked into disbelief the hapless villagers still await aid.

"Many NGOs (volunteer groups) are extending help to us but there in our village the NGO, which was till now helping us is now asking us to follow the Christian religion. We are staunch followers of Hindu religion and refused their request. And after that these people with their aid materials are leaving the village without distributing that to us," Rajni Kumar, a villager said.

The incident is an exception to concerted charity in a catastrophe that has left no one untouched.(ANI)

lexico
21-01-05, 07:29
"a group of Christian missionaries (allegedly) refused them aid for not agreeing to follow their religion...the nuns asked them to convert before distributing biscuits and water."The callousness is shocking indeed, den4. Attaching strings would be sacrilege, but Sister X seems to be confident in her divine inspiration. I totally agree with you. Shema, Isreal! :20:

Mike Cash
21-01-05, 14:00
Forgive my skepticism, but I smell a hoax.

Do a search on Google News for: Samanthapettai Christian
and you get three hits. Two are news sites in India, and the third is a Christian site which takes one of the two Indian sites as its source. The two Indian sites have essentially the same text; one of them copied from the other.

The story, if true, is an outrage of the highest caliber.

How strange that despite the passage of three or four days it only returns hits on two news sites....one a copy of the other.

How strange that despite the presence of television crews and other reporters, there are no photographs.

How strange that no mention is made of the name of the group, or whether they were Indians or foreigners.

A search on regular Google returns oodles and oodles of hits. From what I could tell from a cursory glance, they all seemed to be outraged comments on the hypocrisy of Christians and all seemed to be based on the same two (one?) sources.

I suspect that this is either a hoax or that the FCC forced the world media to suppress the story.

Mike Cash
21-01-05, 14:53
I've been trying to find the village on a map. I can't do it.

I don't feel too bad since these people:
Department of Information Technology
National Informatics Centre
Tamil Nadu State Unit
Chennai
don't seem to know where it is either.

Put the name of the village in the search engine at http://tnmaps.tn.nic.in/default.htm and see what result you get.

den4
21-01-05, 17:52
LOL....if it is a hoax, then darn, got hooked!
If it is true, then it is evil....just evil.....

Mike Cash
21-01-05, 19:42
This has to be the single most intriguing thing I have seen either here or elsewhere on the web in quite a while.

Consequently, I put quite a bit of time into googling on it. For good measure, I also searched usenet groups via google. From what I could find, everybody accepts the story at face value with the exception of myself and (possibly)one guy on usenet.

At the time I checked, Yahoo had it listed as the #1 story people were forwarding to each other by e-mail.

Years (months, even) from now, it won't matter if the story is true or not. So many thousands upon thousands of people will have seen that dubious news article or have heard about it second or third hand that it won't matter at all if the story is a hoax. It will be repeated as gospel. And it will be received as gospel by people who are eager to believe it and who will fail to give it a smell test, just as the people currently passing it around and wailing about it are doing.

Since no news agency or media outlet that I had ever even heard of before saw fit to run with this story, and since the story failed to name the Christian group, my first thoughts were that it is possible someone wanted to stir up anti-Christian sentiment. An easy thing to do, and a message which finds around much of the world an audience so eager to believe the story (as it affirms their own convictions) that they either choose to ignore the red flags in the story, or lack the perspicacity to spot them to begin with.

Also, let's keep in mind that India is no stranger to rivalries between religions. A google search on: tamil hindu christian tension
turned up several links which help put the ANI story in some better perspective.

"Indians Against Christian Aggression"
http://www.kentaxrecords.com/iaca/index.php

and others.

Even cursory skimming through some of the sites helps us see that there is a history of tension between Hindus and Christians in the area, that there is a social context involved here.

lexico
21-01-05, 19:50
I admire you passion to find the truth, MikeCash.
I'm interested how it will all turn out eventually.
Whichever the case, my ears are always open to truth.
Thanks for your updates, it's good to know you care! :cool:

den4
21-01-05, 20:27
My hats off to MikeCash for taking the time to research this....and I agree with him....it does have the political slant of being Anti-Christian....
Not one for liking to fall prey to any group's agenda, I just hope that this story isn't true, because regardless of what the outcome is, those poor folks really do need help....not some political agenda....

lexico
22-01-05, 11:37
I tried your GIS link, and indeed the village called Samanthapettai showed nothing. I tried my National Geographic Atlas, but I could not find Samanthapettai, only Madurai. So I have a general position of LE 88 LN 12 for Madurai, but my map's scale being 1:6.45 million is hardly adequate to either prove or disprove Samanthapettai's existence. One geographical dictionary does not list Smanthapettai, but has Madurai amd Madras, saying Madurai is SSW of Madras. The map has only Madurai, but no Madras. Name change maybe?

The total population of Samanthapettai being around 200, it's not a major village that is likely to be recorded on a low resolution map, and could be one reason why the GIS site does not list it. So I am stuck where I am.

Your conspiracy theory, for lack of a better word, would rather be comforting than otherwise. I still haven't seen the second link you gave; it's just too ugly to face, right now. I hope the truth comes out, not too late. Before ppl settle for what they've got initially, and continue with the , if that is indeed the case. Any news that you've come across?

btw, what does ANI stand for?

Mike Cash
22-01-05, 14:32
ANI stands for "Asian News International" (http://www.aniin.com/)

I agree that being unable to locate a tiny village of 200 people does not prove it doesn't exist. It must not be the name of an area officially recognized as a village/town/district/etc. The GIS site/maps showed all of them, and Samanthapettai wasn't there. It may be a common, but unofficial, name for something more like a neighborhood.

To me, the most suspicious part of the story is that no other news organizations carried it. It is precisely the sort of story that many newspaper editors would love to carry. It is impossible to imagine that this story didn't come to the attention of at least a few major mainline news organizations. Why, then, did none of them carry it?

My guess is that they found it impossible to verify any aspect of the story.

1) Christian group not named
2) No photos, despite tv crews and reporters being there
3) Impossible to even verify the existance of the village
4) Source is an obscure wire service of unknown reliability and integrity
5) Long-standing tension between Hindu and Christians in the area

Until I see some independent verification of the story, I will assume there is a high probability the story is either false or an exaggeration, created by people seeking to promote their own anti-Christian agenda by taking advantage of the tsunami situation.

It that turns out to be the case, then I would say their action is even more vile and reprehensible than the actions they claimed the Christians took.

(I would dearly love to hear the truth behind this story).

PaulTB
24-01-05, 15:33
(I would dearly love to hear the truth behind this story).

Given its mention in an unrelated tsunami news story I think we can fairly safely assume the village exists.
http://news.newkerala.com/india-news/?action=fullnews&id=60573

As for the rest I haven't seen anything that couldn't just be regurgitating the original story.

[EDIT] Just to throw another interpretation on to the fire.

A possible reason for lack of follow-up stories could be that nobody knows who those masked nuns were. If they just drove off without comment (as they are said to have done) and hadn't identified themselves before leaving that might just have been the end of the information trail.

(OK, I was joking about the masks).

lexico
24-01-05, 20:46
Given its mention in an unrelated tsunami news story I think we can fairly safely assume the village exists. http://news.newkerala.com/india-news/?action=fullnews&id=60573That's insteresting information, Paul TB. Nice digging! :cool:
I found an article discussing the problems of the current proselytizing policy; the article also quotes the Samanthapettai incident, although no proof of it. See "Counting Sheep" article http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20050131&fname=Missionaries+%28F%29&sid=1
I also think it is important to see that at least some Christian groups are taking the matter seriously, as in this online Chritian news link (same news, without commentary) http://news.crossmap.com/read/2013

[EDIT] Just to throw another interpretation on to the fire.

A possible reason for lack of follow-up stories could be that nobody knows who those masked nuns were. If they just drove off without comment (as they are said to have done) and hadn't identified themselves before leaving that might just have been the end of the information trail.The thing that still bothers me is the fact that they were not newcomers to the disaster sites. Ony after spending some time there did they begin to demand conversion to Christianity, according to the original news. Still there may have been some mix-up, and you may be right; got lost in India.
(OK, I was joking about the masks).You may have been, but I've already pictured a (female) muslim activist disguised as a Chritian relief worker! (I'm just kidding back!)

den4
24-01-05, 22:31
the plot thickens..... LOL
or is it the gravy?

lexico
24-01-05, 22:56
the plot thickens..... LOL
or is it the gravy?O, Den4, must you bring up the pheasant plucking song here?
I know you like it, I do too. Link, link, link!

So Samanthapettai was only a tip of the iceberg?
Conspiracy trickling down from the top evangelist?
Scandalous!

den4
24-01-05, 22:58
hmm.....there's nothing stopping you from doing so, lexico..... :D

lexico
24-01-05, 23:02
hmm.....there's nothing stopping you from doing so, lexico..... :DI was talking about the tune, den4, not the the lyrics!
We have a million copies of that thanks to you! :evil:

den4
24-01-05, 23:13
I know nothing about the tune for this particular one you seek....
perhaps you can create one...? :?