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  • » 11/17/2009, 00.00


    Orissa: European delegation meets victims of anti-Christian pogrom

    Representatives from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland visit the region more than a year after it was shaken by violence. Authorities in New Delhi deny the diplomats permission to visit Kandhamal district. They meet ten survivors at the Bishop’s House in Bhubaneswar-Cuttack diocese. Bishop Cheenath said they expressed “concern” but “did not make any promises”.
    Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Representatives from five European countries are visiting Orissa to examine the conditions in which Christian refugees are living and look at the security situation in the area. The visit also includes meeting some of the people who survived the violence unleashed by Hindu fanatics.

    The visit by envoys from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland did not include Kandhamal district because Indian federal authorities refused to give them permission. Nevertheless, yesterday they did meet Cuttack Director General of Police Manmohan Praharaj and other top police officials (pictured), and were able to speak to ten pogrom survivors brought to the state capital for a meeting at the Bishop’s House of the Bhubaneswar-Cuttack diocese.

    The ambassadors representing the five north European countries did not make any public statement about what was said during the private meeting with survivors. All Danish Ambassador Aoulsen Ole Lonsmann would say is, “We had a private discussion with the victims,” but “we cannot share it with the public”.

    Today the five envoys travelled to Kalahandi and Koraput, an area currently in turmoil because of Maoist rebels, to see the situation for themselves.

    Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack, said the five diplomats expressed “concern” about the situation. They “listened to the victims, but did not promise anything,” the prelate explained.

    The archbishop did however tell them about the anguish people endure a year after the pogrom, living far from home under threat.

    "We think about 50,000 people fled Kandhamal during the riots. Now 50 per cent of them are back, but they are facing housing problems. The state government should take it up earnestly," Archbishop Cheenath said.

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    See also

    21/08/2009 INDIA
    A year since the anti-Christian pogrom, our strength lies in the cross of Christ, Orissa bishop says
    Sunday 23 August will mark the first anniversary of large scale anti-Christian violence in the State of Orissa, especially in Kandhamal. It all began when Hindu nationalists tried to quench their thirst for vengeance as a result of the death of their spiritual leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati, killed by Maoists. Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, talks to AsiaNews about the year that has gone by. The extremists sought “to accomplish their goal of wiping out Christianity. But our mission will continue.” Despite the grief, I “drew immense consolation from people, their faith and their determination to continue as Christians”.

    17/09/2009 INDIA
    For Orissa bishop government lying as it tries to evade responsibility in anti-Christian violence
    Government officials testify before the commission of inquiry set up to look into last year’s anti-Christian violence. Former district collector in Kandhamal talks about illegal conversions to Christianity, whilst police inspector general claims the authorities had no intelligence about Maoist threats against Hindus. For the bishop of Bhubanewsar, they are all in together to rid the State of its Christian minority.

    03/09/2010 INDIA
    More than 4,000 Christians victims of abuses and forced conversions in Orissa
    In 20 villages in Kandhamal District hit by anti-Christian pogroms in 2008, Hindus continue to prevent Christians from participating in social life, including the use of public fountains and cutting wood in the forest. “they need to live a dignified life. The Orissa State government has an obligation to do something about it and protect Christians from this inhuman treatment,” the archbishop Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said.

    28/08/2008 INDIA
    Orissa: killing Christians to stop Tribals and Dalits from developing and achieving dignity
    An expert sociologist talks about the motives behind the ongoing waves of violence against Christians—conversion to Christianity, education and emancipation allow Tribals and Dalits to escape slave-like conditions. Hindu fundamentalism is against the search for greater justice and wants to stop ongoing social transformations.

    23/09/2009 INDIA
    Orissa: for the first time, sentenced to life imprisonment for anti-Christian pogrom
    Five Hindu youth guilty of the murder of Akbar Digal, a Baptist pastor. The Catholic bishop of Bhubaneshwar hopes that the ruling “does not hold back the witnesses, and they should testify to the truth in spite of the threats”. Up to date the court of Bhubaneshwar has condemned 19 persons releasing 88.

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