» 08/29/2008, 00.00
Some 25,000 Catholic schools shut down in India to protest against Orissa massacres
The Bishops’ Conference of India suspends all activities in the country’s Catholic institutions. Cardinal Gracias highlights the attempt to reawaken the conscience of people in India and around the world over the fate of Indian Christians. Non-Christian schools join peaceful protest.
Anti-Christian violence like “man-made tsunami,” says Cardinal Toppo
The chairman of the Indian Bishops’ Conference visits an area in the state of Orissa where Hindu fundamentalists went on a rampage in late December. Local authorities tried however to prevent him from talking to victims. During his meeting with Prime Minister Singh he slammed the attacks. Two weeks after the event, the National Commission on Minorities sends a delegation to look at the tormented district of Kandhamal.
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.
Orissa bishops call on government to rebuild churches by Christmas
The request is made in a letter addressed to the state’s chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, to help things get back to normal. However, violence and forced re-conversion to Hinduism are still taking place in the state, generating fear and terror. The bishops call on the central government to continue the deployment of special forces in the state until after the upcoming election which is scheduled for 9 April next year.
Risk of anti-Christian violence in Orissa but also in Karnataka during Christmas
A delegation from the Bishops’ Conference meets the Home Affairs minister to express “great apprehension” over the risk of anti-Christian attacks during the Christmas holidays. The All Indian Christian Council releases a report on violence that took place in Karnataka between August and October, resulting in 48 incidents, 53 injured and more than 30 places of worship attacked.
Orissa, tally following 3 months of violence against Christians
118 deaths have been certified, but it is feared that there have been at least 500, with many bodies being hidden or cremated. More than 54,000 have been displaced. The violence continues, although with less frequency, in part because of the impunity enjoyed by the attackers.
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