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    » 08/16/2011, 00.00

    INDIA

    Orissa: more fears about radical Hindu violence on 23 August



    The fundamentalists plan to celebrate “Protecting the Faith” day to commemorate Swami Laksamananda Saraswati, who was killed by Maoists. His murder unleashed a wave of violence against Christians, who were innocent of the crime. John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council, calls for the most stringent of measures to prevent violence.
    New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) – John Dayal, secretary general of the All India Christian Council (AICC) and member of the National Integration Council of the Indian government, has released a letter, sent to all levels of government (local, state and federal) in which he warns against possible violence on 23 August, day in which radical Hindus plan a demonstration.

    “As you are aware,” Dayak writes, “the 23rd of August marks the third anniversary of the killing of VHP leader Lakshmananda Saraswati in Kandhamal, in Orissa, by Maoists,” which was followed by a “ pogrom against the Christian Dalit and Tribal community of that region. That led to over 56,000 Christians homeless, almost 300 churches destroyed, more than 5,600 houses burnt. A nun and two other women were raped and many molested. The memory of that violence has scorched the psyche of our community.”

    As recent trials against the real murderers show, Christians were indeed wrongly accused of killing the Hindu leader (see Nirmala Carvalho, “Orissa pogroms: police clear Christians from the death of Hindu religious leader,” in AsiaNews, 11 May 2011). Yet the conviction of the real culprits has not been enough to reassure Christians who still suffer from discrimination and violence.

    “Now the Sangh Parivar is saying that it will celebrate 23 August as ‘Protecting the Faith’ day,” Dayal’s letter says. In fact, the Hindu radical movement “has been handing out leaflets to that effect.”

    However, “Our community is afraid that troubles and violence might break out unless the state government does not take the most stringent of measures in Kandhamal and other districts.”

    This is why, “I am writing this to request that you call upon the State government do its duty for the minority community and reassure them there will be no untoward incident.”

    Meanwhile, a delegation of German lawmakers has visited Kandhamal. During their stay, they called on Orissa’s chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, to take charge of the urgent situation in the district.

    Led by Volker Kauder, chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group in the German lower house, the German delegation visited refugees in the Nandagiri camp.

    “Christians still live in fear is the impression we got after meeting some of the victims of communal violence,” Kauder said.

    “The fact that some perpetrators of the violence are still at large is an obstacle to reconciliation and long-term stability. It is a matter of concern and will be discussed with the Indian authorities,” he added.
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    See also

    18/12/2008 INDIA
    Orissa: catechist attacked by Hindu fundamentalists found dead
    Yuvraj Digal, 40, was brutally beaten by a mob of about 20 people, after which he vanished raising fears that he might have been abducted. Today his death was confirmed when his body was found.

    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.

    13/02/2009 INDIA
    No school for Christian children in Orissa
    Driven far from home, school-age children have practically lost an entire school year as the current one comes to end shortly. Orissa authorities are moving refugees to temporary camps near their home villages, but moving back home is still not yet in the cards. Discrimination and other intimidatory acts continue. As the April elections come closer, tensions is rising.

    10/09/2008 INDIA
    In Orissa Christians treated worse than animals, says Father Bernard
    As the situation gets back to normal amid fears and tensions, what happened is slowly emerging. Victims talk about the violence inflicted upon them, a true “attack against the sacredness and dignity of human life”. Beaten repeatedly and left unconscious for hours in the forest, Fr Bernard Digal tells his story.

    23/04/2016 15:40:00 INDIA
    Two newly ordained priests to serve Christians in Odisha’s Kandhamal district

    Mgr John Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, ordained Fr Pritam Singh and Fr Bhanja Kishore Singh in a ceremony attended by more than a thousand Catholics, as well as 35 priests and 50 nuns. The district now has 12 priests, the highest number in the state. The increase in consecrations confirms that the Christian community has not been intimidated by Hindu radical violence.





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