» 06/18/2012, 00.00
Orissa: 50 Hindu nationalists attack Christians. Fear of new pogroms
The pastor of a Pentecostal Church and 12 families of his community were seriously wounded, in the district of Balasore. The police seized explosives and dynamite in another district (Puri) of Orissa. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Hindu nationalists are preparing a "diabolical plan" to repeat the 2008 violence of Kandhamal.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A new "brutal attack" in Orissa, which responds to a "diabolical plan": this is how Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), defines the violent assault committed by more than 50 Hindu ultranationalists against Evangelist Baidhare, the pastor of the Pentecostal Fellowship Prayer group, and 12 families of his community. The violence took place in the district of Balasore. According to the GCIC president, the attack "is meant to terrify the Christian minority. They want to repeat what happened in 2008, with the anti-Christian pogroms in the Kandhamal district." Confirming this hypothesis was the discovery of some handmade explosives in another district of the state.
On June 15, a group of Hindu nationalists attacked and seriously injured the Rev. Baidhar, 50, while he was returning home in the village of Mitrapur after a prayer service. The attackers left the minister on the ground, bleeding. Shortly after, some believers found him and took him to a local hospital to receive the necessary treatment.
When the Hindus found out that Rev. Baidhar had been rescued, about 50 of them attacked 12 Christian families, injuring 20 people, young and old, and attempted to rape a few girls. Not content with that, the attackers looted their homes. Following the attack, many members of these families vanished into thin air, and there has been no news of them since. The suspicion is that they are hiding in the jungle, as happened in 2008 in Kandhamal. Sajan George says that the GCIC in Bhubaneshwar only discovered what had happened on June 16, and immediately denounced the events to the police of Nilgiri.
A few days before, in the district of Puri (Orissa), the local police at Brahmagiri seized more than 50 homemade bombs and 12 charges of dynamite, hidden in a hut in the village of Gambhari. According to police, the explosives found would have been used to organize a new anti-Christian pogrom to take place a short time afterwards, similar to the attacks in Kandhamal in 2008.
Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu ultranationalists killed 93 people, burned and looted more than 6,500 homes, and destroyed over 350 churches and 45 schools. Because of the pogroms, in 2008 more than 50 thousand people, mostly Christians, were displaced. Today, there are still 10,000 refugees. The Church in Orissa has always initiated assistance and reconstruction programs, aimed at both Christians and Hindus.
Pogrom in Orissa: life imprisonment for seven innocent Christians
Retired bishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar promises: "We will appeal". The convicted men are accused of the murder of a Hindu leader, which triggered the anti-Christian violence of 2008. Against them there is no evidence. The Maoists have always claimed reponsibility for the assassination.
Orissa: Governor Patnaik visits Kandhamal, but ignores the Christians
In his visit to the district most affected by Hindu violence, the Chief Minister never mentions the situation of Christians. Disappointment and anger among members of the community. "The state has forgotten us." Patnaik's behavior "reflects the typical attitude of the Orissa administration against Christians."
Cardinal Gracias: A year from the pogroms in Orissa, hope "for a new beginning"
According to the Archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Catholic Bishops, the anti-Christian violence in Orissa was "one of the saddest moments in the history of India." The country "needs to restore its glorious multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-linguistic tradition”.
Peace and forgiveness, two sides of Christmas among Orissa Christians
The faithful prepare to celebrate Christmas with hope, even after a long period of persecution. The authorities in Kandhamal have promised security and call for “respect and solidarity with Christian communities.” People want to “forget the pain, divisions and the loss of dear ones.”
Orissa’s Christians want "concrete measures", not just apologies from government
The Interior Minister has visited refugee camps in Kandhamal and assured the government's commitment to a return to normal. Christians complain of threats, lack of compensation and continuing violations of religious freedom. Even today, the perpetrators of violence go unpunished circulating in the villages.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.