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» 11/04/2008
INDIA
At least 500 Christians killed in Orissa, government sources say
The official death toll stands at 31 but a fact-finding mission by a Communist Party of India-Marxist Leninist team in the affected area sheds new light on the scale of the attacks and on the present conditions of the refugees. It calls for the banning of radical Hindu groups.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – A representative of the local government in Orissa estimated that more than 500 people died as a consequence of the anti-Christian pogrom launched by Hindu fundamentalists. He said he personally authorised the cremation of at least 200 bodies.

The representative, on condition of anonymity, reported these facts and figures to a team sent by the Communist Party of India (CPL-ML) on a fact finding visit to Kandhamal district. Officially, according to the state government, the official death toll now stands at 31.

The CPI-ML team visited destroyed villages and refugee camps on 15-16 October, almost two months after the start of the massacre. Here team members met and interviewed magistrates and police officers. Their report signed by J P Minz was published in the November issue of the Liberation magazine.

In addition to the real number of dead the report describes the gap between government reassuring statements about the refugee camps and the real situation.

In the government version of the facts some 12,641 people who fled destruction live in 15 refugee camps where they are well-fed, have access to doctors, drugs and schooling for the children.

The CPI-ML team visited the camps in Phulbani, Tikabali, J Udaygiri and Rakiya where they found that food rations were inadequate, drugs non-existent and pregnant women were left without any medical care.

They depict an atmosphere where terror reigns among Christians, who fear for their lives if they go back.

Fundamentalist groups, who want the central government to pull back the police units it sent in, are organising themselves into armed groups, threatening anyone who refuses to convert to Hinduism.

Whilst this is going on, camp administrators are trying to get the refugees to go back home, telling them that life has gone back to normal.

The CPI-ML inquiry said that the pogrom had been in the works for some time, and that it was organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal.

For this reason it calls on the government to ban the two organisations.


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See also
09/29/2008 INDIA
Orissa: More Christian homes set on fire, three bodies fished out of river
by Nirmala Carvalho
01/12/2007 INDIA
Young Christian convert thrown off a train dies
by Nirmala Carvalho
10/16/2008 INDIA
Sangh Parivar wants to remove every Christian trace in Orissa
by Nirmala Carvalho
01/11/2008 INDIA
Upper castes behind anti-Christian violence in Orissa
by Nirmala Carvalho
02/01/2005 INDIA
Widow of murdered missionary receives award

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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