25 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 12/13/2008 13:22
INDIA
Christmas, moment of peace and hope for young widows of Orissa
by Nirmala Carvalho
The husband of Asmitha Digal, a 25-year-old mother of two daughters, was killed by Hindu fundamentalists during the first days of the pogrom against Christians. The woman testifies to the violence she has suffered, but says that she will not give in to the logic of violence. A Christian activist denounces treatment as "second-class citizens."

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - Leaving behind the trauma, pain, and violence suffered; testifying to the martyrdom suffered by one's loved ones without giving in to the logic of hatred, and issuing a message of peace and hope ahead of Christmas. In this spirit, 24 young widows of the district of Kandhamal, in Orissa, have recounted the anti-Christian pogrom unleashed by Hindu fundamentalists.

The women have left the refugee camp in Orissa, and have come to Bangalore. The trip was organized by activists of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), in order to permit the women to celebrate the Christmas holiday. In Orissa, tension remains high, and the Christian community has been threatened with new violence in the case of celebrations connected to Christmas.

Among the many stories of women marked by pain and suffering, AsiaNews has gathered that of Asmitha Digal, from the village of Bataguda, 25 years old and with two young children, whose husband was barbarously killed by fundamentalists: "On August 26th [editor's note: one of the first days of the anti-Christian violence in Orisa] my husband Rajesh came by train, got off at Muniguda station and began walking to Kandhamal as there was no other transport and all the roads were blocked with felled trees. He was accompanied by a young Hindu boy Tunguru Mallick."

"At around 9 am," Asmitha continues, "they had reached Paburia village, they were stopped by a mob of nearly 60 RSS extremists [editor's note: Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a nationalist paramilitary group] armed with long wooden clubs and batons, they snatched Rajesh’s satchel, which had a Bible and gospel tracts. Mallick ran away and hid in some bushes, they thrashed Rajesh and told him to embrace Hinduism which he meekly refused. This angered the extremists who threw him into a pit and covered him with mud neck-downwards, and once again told him to become Hindu, yet again Rajesh refused, then they took huge stones and stoned him to death."

Asmitha says that she tried to report the case, but received no response or compensation. For her, the trip to Bangalore represents an opportunity to issue a message of hope. "I have to live for my children, my husband is with Jesus, and Jesus will be born for us at Christmas to bring us a new life. Jesus comes as a little baby, so helpless and born in a stable, our relief camps are like stables - bare tents, and we like Jesus are shivering in the cold, but Christ is alive and this is what makes the radicals afraid, we pray and believe in a living God."

Sajan George, president of the GCIC, speaking to a crowd of more than 2,500 gathered in Bangalore to listen to the women's testimony, emphasized: "This minority Christian community are being denied their constitutional rights. Article 25 of the Indian constitution gives every Indian the right to freedom of religion - this denial of a constitutional right renders this vulnerable Christian community second-class citizens." The activist issues an appeal to civil society: "Do not allow this inhumanity to be forgotten, do not let this tragedy fade from society’s conscience. These Kandhamal Christians are without an identity, the Hinduvta fundamentalists systematically destroyed and burned all the documents the Christians possessed. Please, citizens of our beloved secular India - do not let the blood of these martyrs be shed in vain."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
12/15/2008 INDIA
Orissa: Christmas of Namrata, the little Dalit disfigured by a bomb
by Nirmala Carvalho
12/23/2008 INDIA
Bishop of Orissa: Glory in heaven and peace on earth, including Kandhamal
by mons. Raphael Cheenath
01/16/2009 INDIA
Bringing a ray of hope to those in Orissa who have lost everything
by Dushmant Nayak
01/20/2009 INDIA
Widow of Graham Staines: "Do not give up hope, pray for India"
by Nirmala Carvalho
12/19/2008 INDIA
Widow of Orissa: Christmas, power of forgiveness for killers of my husband
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.