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  • » 10/03/2013, 00.00

    INDIA

    Pogrom in Orissa: life imprisonment for seven innocent Christians

    Nirmala Carvalho

    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.

    Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Condemned to life imprisonment: this is the ruling issued today by a court in Orissa against seven innocent Christians, accused without evidence of the murder of Hindu leader Laxamananda Saraswati, whose death triggered the violent anti-Christian pogroms of 2008. The immediate reaction of Mons. Raphael Cheenath, retired archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar: "We will appeal to the High Court against the unfair and unacceptable verdict". "The Maoists", he said to AsiaNews, "have twice claimed responsibility for the murder of the Swami Laxamananda and his four followers".

    After dozens of postponements and sham trials, on October 1 the judges of the regular Session Court of Phulbani condemned the seven Christians for the murder of the Hindu leader, deferring the reading of the sentence to today.

    To AsiaNews Sajan George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), defines the sentence "a mockery, the sad demonstration of how the Indian judicial system works". The judges, he adds, "were undeniably abetting with the saffron forces and purposely have delayed hearings and trials on a regular basis. We all agree that the basic principle of a democracy is to give equal protection and justice under the law: in our case, these seven men were not judged according to this principle." 

     

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    See also

    18/06/2012 INDIA
    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.

    24/08/2009 INDIA
    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”.

    20/10/2012 INDIA
    Supreme Court: Fresh investigations into anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal
    The highest court in India demands Orissa account for the numerous acquittals related to the pogroms of 2008. Of 185 trials, only 64 convictions and all for minor offenses. No sentence for murder, rape, looting, arson. A report compiled by an NGO led the Supreme Court to action.

    11/11/2008 INDIA
    Orissa bishops call on government to rebuild churches by Christmas
    The request is made in a letter addressed to the state’s chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, to help things get back to normal. However, violence and forced re-conversion to Hinduism are still taking place in the state, generating fear and terror. The bishops call on the central government to continue the deployment of special forces in the state until after the upcoming election which is scheduled for 9 April next year.

    19/07/2012 INDIA
    India, growing religious intolerance against Christians
    In Karnataka, a Pentecostal pastor was beaten by Hindu ultra-nationalists and detained for forced conversions. In Maharashtra, Hindu activists attacked the tribal Christians. A church under construction in Haryana destroyed. All on the same day.



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