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    » 12/22/2010, 00.00

    INDIA

    Orissa, Hindu radicals threaten a Christmas pogrom against Christians

    Nirmala Carvalho

    The Kui Samaj, a fundamentalist movement, has convoked a rally on Dec. 25 to "honor the memory” of one of its members who was injured while destroying a church and later died in unclear circumstances. Christians in India urge the authorities to intervene to prevent an announced massacre, similar to that of 2007.

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A radical Hindu movement, the Kui Samaj, says it will hold a rally in Kandahamal district on Christmas Day, an area that has been the scene of tragic anti-Christian violence in Orissa. The Global Council of Indian Christians reports that the announcement has caused panic among Christians in the region. "We're scared. Please do something”, implored Kartika Nayak, a Christian youth from the village of Barkham, who witnessed the anti-Christian violence of Christmas 2007. Nayak was among those accused of killing Khageswar Mallick, a tribal Hindu, on Christmas Day of that year. Kartika Nayak said that Mallick was injured while trying to destroy a church. Hindu radicals then took him away to get it treated. Mallick died in mysterious circumstances, and since then the Hindus have been trying to blame Christians for his death.

    On 19 December, Lambodar Kanhar, leader of Kandhamal Kui Samaj, informed reporters that his group would hold the rallies to honor Mallick. Local Christians say Hindu radicals have held closed meetings and distributed leaflets asking people to observe the “memorial day.” Bipra Charan Nayak - no relation- convener of Kandhamal Survivors Association, recalled that Kanhar had called for a general strike on 2007 Christmas in the district. “It resulted in violence that killed three Christians and torched 750 houses and 115 churches, convents and dispensaries,” he said. Bipra said Christians fear the cycle of violence would recur in this Christmas season if the administration failed to act.

    Umesh Nayak, a local Christian leader - no relation to the two mentioned above -, who was part of the district collector’s peace meetings, says government assurances do not assuage Christians’ fear. He recalled that Kandhamal experienced seven-week anti-Christian violence starting August 2008 despite promises of safety from the federal minister, who visited them in relief camps in that January. Itikera Sunamajhi, a tribal leader, said they do not want December 2007 repeated. “Definitely, there is a fear among the Christians. We have told the collector about it and the administration has assured us that it would take necessary measures”.

    The problem has the support of the President that the Council of Christians, Sajan George, who has written to Prime Minister of Orissa. “Panic is spreading among Christians in Kandhamal after KSSS announced plans to hold rallies on Christmas day. The rally announced is a stalk reminder of brutality and deceit being carried out in Barakama on the Christmas  day of 2007.Now, the radicals want to observe Christmas day as his ‘memorial’ and thousands of leaflets are send out to whip up passion .Christians fear the cycle of violence would recur in this Christmas season if the administration failed to act with determination to curb the sinister move". Sajan George recalls that in 2007 the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district had no precedent in Indian history. A total of 730 houses were destroyed, along with 115 churches. The nine dead were Christians, many women raped and more than 40 businesses and shops damaged. And the letter closes with a plea: "Mr. Minister, we ask you to restore confidence in this tiny Christian minority."

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    See also

    25/02/2009 INDIA
    Government blocks rebuilding of church in Orissa
    The church was about to be turned into a Hindu temple. The authorities have stopped construction, but they are not permitting the Catholics to rebuild the edifice, for "legal" reasons.

    25/08/2015 INDIA
    Still no justice for Kandhamal’s Christians seven years after pogroms
    In August 2008, Hindu radicals unleashed anti-Christian violence.. The heartbreaking story of the widow of a man burned at the stake for his religious faith. The Global Council of Indian Christians provides legal and financial support to the families of victims.

    26/02/2016 12:26:00 INDIA
    First website for Orissa victims launched

    The site was created by a group of activists, lawyers, intellectuals and artists in order to be "an authentic source of information" on the 2008 anti-Christian violence. The Orissa government has appointed two commissions of inquiry, but the results of their work are not being disclosed. As of January 2016, 3,232 complaints submitted, but only 827 registered. The acquittal rate in murder trials is 88.6%.

     



    25/08/2011 INDIA
    Hindu radicals threaten more anti-Christian pogroms in Karnataka
    According to the Prashanti Human Rights Centre, Christians in this state fear a repeat of the 2008 violence. Police engages in ambiguous behaviour as it keeps files on Protestant clergyman.

    16/10/2008 INDIA
    Sangh Parivar wants to remove every Christian trace in Orissa
    Christians are not allowed to pray even in government-run refugee camps. The ground on which homes and churches once stood are taken over and “cleansed” of every trace of violence. Hindus tell raped nun to marry her rapist. The hue and cry is still on for Christians.



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