07/21/2011, 00.00
INDIA
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Kandhamal Christians: authorities now guilty of discrimination

by Santosh Digal
A young widow, 16 years old, receives no government subsidies. A young man can not register as unemployed. The Bankingia Catholic community can not build its own church, despite being in possession of the certificate of ownership.
Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) - No benefit to young widows, property rights revoked, intimidation: Christians in Kandhamal, the epicentre of the 2008 pogrom in Orissa continue to suffer all kinds of harassment, now even at the hands of the district authorities.

Mithun Digal, a Christian from the village of Beladadi can not register as unemployed in the district of Kandhamal, because the office of the competent police station G. Udayagiri denies him the certificates of residence, caste and income. The reason given is that his father does not have a regular legal land deed, property rights. In fact, after anti-Christian violence in 2008, the office no longer accepted the rent for their land from Mithum’s father.

In the village of Bankingia, completely destroyed during the pogroms, the Catholic community has been prevented from rebuilding its church because of continuing threats from Hindu fanatics. "This – brother KJ Markos, a lawyer, says - though they are in possession of the land deeds."

Snehal Behera, 16, became a widow four months ago. But the banking authorities of the village - where she lives - deny her the pension for widows of 10 thousand rupees (about 158 euros), because her card does not have BPL (Below Poverty Line). "Snehal and her mother-in-law - says brother Markos, who is also an activist for human rights - have been from the sub-collector and collector at least three times but nobody paid attention to them."

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