30 July 2016
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    » 01/07/2016, 00.00

    INDIA

    Orissa, process opens for canonization Kandhamal martyrs



    The process will be led by Msgr. John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. He has the task of forming a group of experts and gather information about the martyrs. In August 2008, Hindu radicals killed about 100 Christians. The violence forced 56 thousand people to flee their homes; 10 thousand of them still have not returned. Over 6,500 houses destroyed and 395 churches desecrated.

    Cuttack-Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews /CNA) - The Catholic Church in India has decided to initiate the cause of canonization of about 100 Christian martyrs killed by radical Hindus during  anti-Christian pogroms in 2008. This was decided in recent days Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops 'Conference of India (CBCI) and the Federation of Asian Bishops' Conferences (FABC). The cardinal has appointed Msgr. John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, to head the process for "martyrs of Kandhamal".

    Msgr. Barwa said: "The opening of the cause is a source of pride for the relatives of the victims and for the whole Church. Our men, women and children, who became martyrs because of their faith, are not forgotten. " "Even if they were killed in a horrible way, their death has brought a new life and a new faith. This makes relatives of the victims proud".

    In August 2008, the Hindu radicals have killed about 100 Christians, blamed the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda guru, leader of the Hindu nationalist Vishna Hindu Parishad. Although the Maoist guerrillas have repeatedly claimed responsibility for the assassination of the gurus, Hindu fundamentalists in Kandhamal district unleashed the most violent persecution against the Christian minority ever seen in India.

    Christian faithful were killed for refusing to convert to Hinduism. In addition more than 56 thousand people fled their homes and took refuge in the forest, where they suffered from hunger and poverty. The radicals have destroyed about 6,500 homes and 395 churches. To date, nearly 10 thousand people have not yet returned to their homes.

    The survivors of the pogroms of 2008 have told stories of atrocious violence, including acts of torture and forced conversions. Card. Gracias decided to give impetus to the process of canonization after meeting one of them last November. The president of the CBCI has already informed Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, who announced that he will "speak in person to Pope Francis of violence in Kandhamal and its martyrs."

    Archbishop Barwa will have the task of forming a group of experts and gathering information on the victims. He has also decided to erect a monument in their memory. In conclusion, he said: "The official launch of the process is 'a big thing' for Christians in India, especially for the challenges that the minority faces every day. It will serve to strengthen and revitalize the Christian community, affected by the attacks of 2008 ".

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    See also

    31/08/2011 INDIA
    Not all India remembers Orissa’s martyrs
    In Madhya Pradesh, the Church organised prayer meetings and blood donations to commemorate the victims of Hindu violence three years ago. In Orissa, no prayer service was held. In Kandhamal, Hindu nationalists meet to remember the murder of Lakshmananda Saraswati, whose “martyrdom” unleashed a wave of violence in 2008.

    12/11/2012 INDIA
    Orissa, Christian cemetery desecrated in Kandhamal
    A group of unknown persons removed all the crosses and cut down some trees and bushes. According to a Methodist minister in the area, the graves are at risk. In the past, the area was hit by anti-Christian violence.

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

    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.

    28/10/2010 INDIA
    Indian Church remembers Orissa’s martyrs on the second anniversary of the massacre
    A Mass was celebrated in the pro-cathedral of St. Vincent in Bhubaneswar in the presence of over one hundred priests, nuns, seminarians and faithful. The pogrom took place in Kandhamal in 2008 and caused 93 deaths.



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