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  • » 06/12/2014, 00.00

    INDIA

    Bhubaneswar, the government demolishes 30 Christian homes and a church

    Nirmala Carvalho

    Homes destroyed to expand and extend adjacent street. The place of worship and houses stood in a shanty town, in very poor area of the city. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) it is "a serious violation of human rights and a way to intimidate the Christian community."

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The authorities in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Orissa, yesterday demolished a church and 30 houses of the Christian community that lives in the slums Behera, in the district of Nayapalli. AsiaNews was alerted  of the episode by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). The municipality and the Development Authority justified the destruction of places of worship, housing and all of the worldly possessions of the owners with the need to expand and extend the adjacent street.

    According to Sajan K. George, president of the GCIC, the demolition "is a gross violation of human rights. The administration decided to destroy their homes just as Orissa is suffering a heat wave". Overall, the Christian community in the area has 250 members.

    The gesture the activist told AsiaNews, "is a way to intimidate and persecute these poor Christians. Now they have nowhere to live, and what is worse is that they have no food, no drinking water. Their future is daunting: most survive on daily work or are laborers. How will they survive now that all their belongings were destroyed? What will become of the women and children, who were already living in insecurity?".

    The GCIC, he adds, "is not contrary to progress and development, but this should not be done without putting people at the center."

    This is not the first time that the local church has been  targeted by the authorities. On 2 July 2008, seven Protestant pastors were beaten and imprisoned on false charges of forced conversions. Back then - as now - the government in the Orissa was run by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a regional right wing party and ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu ultra-nationalist formation that since May 16 last is at the helm of the central government of 'India.

     

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    See also

    24/08/2010 INDIA
    Economic interests of upper caste Hindus behind the massacres in Orissa
    Two years after the anti-Christian pogroms that began August 24, 2008 in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa), survivors of violence are still in danger and seeking justice. The Archbishop of Cuttack Bhubaneswar, attacks business men of high caste Hindus. They exploited the massacres to maintain economic power in the region, preventing the Church emancipation of Dalits and tribals who converted to Christianity.

    03/02/2010 INDIA
    EU delegation visits persecuted Christians of Orissa
    Delegates are met by ultranationalist Hindus. Tomorrow they will travel to conflict-torn Kandhamal. Mgr Cheenath says things will be back to normal only when Christians can live in their homes and pray without fear.

    16/06/2007 INDONESIA
    Domestic Churches once again under attack in West Java
    In Bandungna over 150 Islamic protesters threaten the local Christian community: “Or you close private homes being used for church activities, or we will”. The Indonesian Churches Communication Forum reports there have been over 70 disputes of this kind since January 2004and asks for the authorities to facilitate the purchase of land to allow the construction of Churches.

    14/09/2010 INDIA
    Orissa bishop slams forced conversion of Catholics to Hinduism
    Cases have been reported in more than ten villages in Kandhamal District. In talks with the state’s chief minister, Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, calls for a greater effort to fight discrimination. “The state describes itself as secular; hence, it should not condone such violence,” he said.

    13/11/2008 INDIA
    Indian commission investigating anti-Christian pogrom in Orissa
    A seven-member team begins inquiry in areas where Hindus massacred Christians. They will meet victims, police officials and local administrators. It is still not known whether Sister Meena will take part in the line-up to identify her assailants.



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