03/04/2008, 00.00
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Orissa survivors, UN ‘political refugees’

by Nirmala Carvalho
The president of the Global Council of Indian Christians makes a proposal to that effect, blames government for doing “nothing to ensure the safety” of victims. Hyderabad archbishop complains that anti-Christian violence is getting worse by the day.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) – The Indian government has “done nothing to ensure the safety of Christians in Orissa against the attack by fanatical fundamentalists last Christmas” and “insists on not acknowledging their suffering. For this reason we shall ask the United Nations to grant survivors political refugee status,” announced Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), at a plenary meeting of the organisation in Hyderabad, capital of the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. The GCIC is a group that promotes the rights of Christian minorities

“This is an attempt to recognise and honour the suffering of Christians who live in remote locations, facing intense and prolonged persecution for their faith. It is also to challenge Christians in the rest of the country with their stories,” he told the assembly.

“This attack shows that not all Indian citizens are equal; that not all protected under the constitution which is supposed to guarantee religious freedom. The worst thing beside the attack is the fact that victims experience discrimination and racism on a daily basis. They cannot work because no one will hire them and the government does nothing,” George told AsiaNews

Mgr Marampudi Joji, archbishop of Hyderabad, was present at the meeting where he added his voice. “Seeing the 53 survivors of the Orissa slaughter deeply affects you,” he said. “Anti-Christian violence is getting worse by the day. As bishops and pastors we must protect our flock, but this task is becoming increasingly difficult.”

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