07/06/2013, 00.00
INDIA
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India rewards Fr Singh for his work with Orissa Pogrom victims

by Santosh Digal
The National Commission for Minorities gives the priest its Minority Award. To the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, the award "has made us all proud of the his hard work, and absolute commitment to the cause of our suffering and persecuted people."

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - In recognition of his work among survivors of the anti-Christian violence in 2008 in Kandhamal (Orissa), the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) gave this year's Minority Award to Fr Ajaya Kumar Singh, a priest in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar (Orissa). Through him, the prize also acknowledges the suffering endured by the victims of the Kandhamal pogroms, and the pride with which Christians lived through those days of persecution. The ceremony was held at the Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi.

"This award," Fr Singh said, "is a recognition of the efforts of all those who have tried to bring justice and peace in Kandhamal. I really do not deserve it; others have done much more than me."

"Fr Singh," said Mgr John Barwa SVD, archbishop of Cuttack Bhubaneshwar, "has made us all proud of his hard work, and absolute commitment to the cause of our suffering and persecuted people. Certain efforts are never in vain."

Fr Singh was born in 1967. After his ordination in 1995, he served as assistant priest in several parishes in Kandhamal district. At the same time, he earned a diploma in Rural Development at the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneshwar.

Active in promoting human rights, social justice and minority protection, he has been the director of the Orissa Forum for Social Action since 2011.

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