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  • » 08/26/2008, 00.00

    INDIA

    Orissa: Hindus torch Christian homes and churches, three die asphyxiated By Nirmala Carvalho

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Radical Hindus pursue their pogrom against Christians and their institutions. Catholic and Protestant institutions come under attack. People who fled into the forest are without food and shelter. Police imposes a curfew.
    Bubaneshwar (AsiaNews) – Violence continues in the district of Kandhamal where an actual pogrom against Christians is currently underway. Three people died asphyxiated last night in the Raikia area when their homes were torched by groups of radical Hindus. With last night’s victims the death toll from the violence sparked by the death of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s leader Swami Laxanananda Saraswati now stands at five.

    In two separate incidents a woman and man died yesterday. In the first case a 21-year-old lay missionary, Rajani Majhi, who was initially thought to be a nun, was burnt alive as she tried to save the residents of an orphanage run by the Catholic mission in Bargarh. In the other case a man was similarly burnt alive in Kandhamal.

    Meanwhile the number of Catholic and Protestant churches set on fire is rising. Christian homes are being torched as well after being pillaged; villages are coming under siege and schools are attacked. For many people nearby forests are the only place of safety but they lack food and shelter.

    This morning a Catholic church and five Christian homes were set on fire in the village of Badimunda.

    Father Dibakar Pariccha, from Justice and Peace’s Bubaneshwar chapter, has drawn up a list of violent episodes (reported elsewhere). He described to AsiaNews the urgency of the situation, saying that “throughout the state, especially in the district of Kandhamal, many families are without food, shelter and in some cases even clothing. Last night many people were hiding in the forests out in the open as heavy rain poured out of the sky. Conditions for children and women are indescribable: children cannot go to school and are traumatised by the violence; women are exhausted by the destruction of their homes and families.”

    Police forces and the army are trying to restore law and order, but raids and sieges continue today, after radical Hindus called for a strike yesterday that brought traffic in the state of Orissa to a standstill.

    An indefinite curfew was imposed on the district of Kandhamal. Anti-riot units have been deployed around sensitive targets like Christian institutions, schools and colleges.

    Police suspects that Maoist groups are behind the assassination of Swami Laxanananda, but radical Hindu groups and leaders, especially a woman VHP member named Nivedita Miyar Cuttak, blamed Christians for his death.

    Following the murder some Hindu leaders harangued crowds of fanatics, shouting slogans like “Kill Christians and destroy their institutions.”

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    See also

    25/08/2008 INDIA
    Orissa: violence and destruction against Christians accused of killing radical Hindu leader
    Churches, chapels, a social centre and a pastoral centre as well as vans belonging to nuns have been destroyed. A new wave of violence has followed the assassination of Swami Laxanananda, the man behind the war against Christians that left three people dead and saw 13 churches burnt last December in Orissa.

    25/08/2008 INDIA
    Hindu nationalism is a cancer on India, says Orissa bishop
    Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bubaneshwar, talks about the situation of the Church following attacks against churches, cars and people in Orissa. There is a link between Hindu nationalist ideology and Nazism. For him though, Christianity has “deep roots” in the state and the Church is the “light” for many Tribals and outcasts.

    10/09/2008 INDIA
    In Orissa Christians treated worse than animals, says Father Bernard
    As the situation gets back to normal amid fears and tensions, what happened is slowly emerging. Victims talk about the violence inflicted upon them, a true “attack against the sacredness and dignity of human life”. Beaten repeatedly and left unconscious for hours in the forest, Fr Bernard Digal tells his story.

    27/08/2008 INDIA
    Orissa: burning and looting continues, Christians beaten and cut to pieces
    Vikram Nayak was killed, and then cut to pieces. Two Christians die two days after suffering serious injuries. Unrest by radical Hindus continues as police is ordered to shoot on sight those who break the curfew. Two nuns who were attacked tell their stories; Catholic schools to close for a day; the faithful are called to observe a day of prayer and fasting.

    29/09/2008 INDIA
    Orissa: More Christian homes set on fire, three bodies fished out of river
    Bodies belong to a group that visited a village to immunise residents. Plan to make the state Christian-free entails different stages. International disinformation campaign is underway.



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