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Media release

Call for retraction of false statements about murdered missionary

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Media Statement

Call for retraction of false statements about murdered missionary    

Archbishop Glenn Davies has called for an apology and the retraction of a slanderous accusation by an MP during debate in the Indian Parliament in which murdered missionary Graham Staines was accused of child abuse.

Mr Staines was an Australian missionary who worked tirelessly and selflessly with leprosy patients in India for more than 30 years. Along with his two sons, Timothy (aged 8) and Philip (aged 10), he was burned to death in an attack by Hindu extremists in Uttar Pradesh in 1999.    

During Parliamentary debate in September, a member of the ruling BJP party and a representative of Uttar Pradesh state, Satya Pal Singh, accused Mr Staines and other Christians of molesting 30 girls belonging to local tribes in Odisha and converting them to Christianity. He cited this as the main reason for the murders and as justification for stringent amendments to the law on the basis ‘forced conversions’ are still being perpetrated by Christian missionaries.

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies called the comments ‘reprehensible’.

“The murder of Graham Staines and his sons was a stain on the history of India. The then President K.R. Narayanan was right to describe it as ‘a monumental aberration of time-tested tolerance and harmony’ and that the murders belonged to ‘the world's inventory of black deeds’. For the MP to now use parliamentary privilege to bring such baseless accusations for political purposes deserves the strongest condemnation. A retraction and full apology should be issued for the sake of truth and as a bulwark against religious intolerance.”

The Archbishop said many Sydney Anglicans have travelled to India in recent years and been welcomed, along with the help they bring to the population. “I would like to think that the Government and others from Mr Singh’s party would not sit idly by while such comments are made. They should be repudiated in the strongest possible terms.”

Archbishop Glenn Davies
8 October 2020

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