10/01/2008, 00.00
INDIA
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Orissa: Christian woman killed, 300 more homes burned

The woman killed was Ramani Nayak, a mother and a Christian. Her husband and two daughters were able to get away. A dozen wounded, including an eight-year-old boy and his mother. Two days before, a man was tortured in order to force him to give up his Catholic faith. The police seem incapable of preventing these incidents, which have continued for more than a month.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - A woman has been killed, and at least 300 homes belonging to Christians have been burned in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa), more than a month after the pogrom against Christians was begun by fundamentalist Hindu organizations.

The latest violence took place yesterday morning at 4 AM. Groups of radical Hindu organizations set upon three Christian villages while the people were sleeping, attacking them with axes, clubs, swords, and knives.

The Christian woman killed was Ramani Nayak, mother of a family. Her husband and two daughters were able to get away. A dozen people were injured and are in the hospital of Behampur. Those most seriously injured include an eight-year-old boy and his mother. After making the inhabitants flee, the radical groups rased their homes and used Molotov cocktails to set them on fire. The flames and smoke can still be seen in the three villages. A chapel was also damaged.

The three villages attacked were Rudangia, Telingia, and Gadaguda, all in the G. Udaygiri Block. According to eyewitnesses, the police were present, but did not lift a finger. When some Christian families began to defend themselves, the police arrested 10 people. It is not clear whether those arrested are radical Hindus or the inhabitants of the villages.

Two days earlier, a Catholic in the area of Phiringia was taken to the hospital after suffering torture on the part of Hindus who wanted to force him to renounce his Christian faith.

The police have again imposed a curfew in the area.

Since August 24, when the campaign of violence began against the Christians, 60 Christians have been killed; 178 churches have been destroyed or damaged; 4,600 homes belonging to Christians have been burned; 13 schools or social centers have been destroyed; more than 50,000 people have been forced to flee; more than 18,000 have been wounded.

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