Friday, 29 August 2008

Burning Issue

Thousands homeless after Hindu-Christian violence in India
By Hari Kumar

NEW DELHI: At least 3,000 people, most of them Christians, are living in government-run relief camps after days of Christian-versus-Hindu violence in eastern India, government officials said.
The government said that many people were also living in the jungle without any shelter and security because of the tensions, which erupted in violence after a Hindu leader was killed Saturday. At least 10 people, most of them Christians, have been killed since.
Christian community leaders say that at least 1,000 Christian homes have been set on fire since Monday, rendering more than 5,000 people homeless.
Many of those living in the jungle were without food or water, said the Rev. Dibakar Parichha, a priest at the Roman Catholic church in Phulbani, a town in Orissa State. Father Parichha said that about 90 places of worship, including small churches and prayer halls, had been burned down. Local officials said the figure was about 20.
The violence has occurred in Kandhamal, a district in Orissa State that has a history of communal and ethnic clashes. The latest conflict started Saturday night, when unidentified armed men stormed a Hindu school in Kandhamal and killed the Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his followers.

The police suspected that Maoist rebels were responsible. But Hindus blamed Christians. In the retaliatory violence, 500 houses were burned. All nine towns in the district are under a curfew, and the police have license to shoot. At least two people have been killed in violent reprisals in other districts of Orissa, including a woman who died when an orphanage was burned down.
"We are supposed to take drastic action against whosoever indulges in violence" said R. P. Koche, the police chief in Kandhamal District. The local police force has been reinforced by 2,500 paramilitary troops, he said. The district magistrate, Dr. Krishna Kumar, said the situation was tense but under control, and that more then 200 people had been arrested.
On Wednesday, during his weekly address at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI said, "I firmly condemn any attack on human life," and said that he was "profoundly saddened" by the violence in Orissa. He called the killing of Saraswati "deplorable."
To protest the violence against Christians in Orissa, more than 40,000 Christian educational institutions across India will be closed on Friday in compliance with a call by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and other Christian denominations. (Reuters News Agency)

1) NUN BURNT ALIVE: A nun was burnt to death on 25th, Monday, after an orphanage was torched in at Phutpali in Bargarh district in Orissa during a bandh called by Hindu nationalist parties.Twenty children, who were at the orphanage, managed to escape but a priest suffered serious burn injuries in the attack. 2) RASANANDA PRADHAN TORCHED ALIVE: Another person, Rasananda Pradhan, was burnt to death when his house was set ablaze at Rupa village in Kandhamal district. 3) INFLAMMATORY SPEECHES TARGET CHRISTIANS: During the bandh inflammatory speeches spreading hatred against the Christian workers and the community were given by the VHP leaders. To gain the mass support,the activists have also carried the body of Swamiji throughout the town. 4) CHURCHES BURNT ALL ACROSS ORISSA STATE: Churches were attacked in Khurda, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Koraput, Boudh, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Kandhamal districts as also in the state capital, police sources said, adding 40 houses were set ablaze in Phulbani town. 5) BUSES AND VEHICLES TORCHED: Mr. Mishra Digal was beaten up, while the motorcycles of Mr. R. K. Digal and Jitendra were burnt. Several buses at Gee Udaigiri in Baliguda were burnt. 6) PULBANI CHURCH RANSACKED: The Church at Phulbani,and several other churches at Phiringia were attacked and ransacked. Pastor D. Tatson's house was vandalized and his property burnt. 7) KAKRIGUMA CHURCHES VANDALISED: Churches in Kakriguma have been targeted by the mob that reportedly damaged the Assembly Of God Church and the Philadelphia Church . 8) WORLD VISION STAFF FLED FOR SAFETY: World Vision India office ransacked and the Staff has also fled to jungle for protection. 9) CHRISTIANS TAKE SHELTER IN FOREST FOR PROTECTION: A police camp at Barakhama was also attacked by the Hindu fundamentalists. With several houses being burnt down and people being made homeless, many Christians,particul arly from Nua Sahi, Munda Sahi and Suna Tonga have fled into forests for their lives. 10) NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed. 11) SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire. 12) BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties. 13) CHRISTIAN BOYS HEADS TONSURED: The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads. 14) PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani.
There are many more news reports like the above.
Pray that peace may prevail and the perpetrators of hatred and crime may be restrained.
Tonight we are having a prayer meeting in our home.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth....Romans 1;16 KJV

16 Fertilize my soul:

Robin said...

my heart hurts to read this, how much more the Fathers heart aches.
you are in my prayers.

Roo said...

praying. xo

Dick said...


Mel Avila Alarilla said...

It is both tragic and deplorable that these things are happening in Orissa. This is religious intolerance and bigotry of the highest degree. Let us all pray that situation there would subside and cooler heads will prevail. In the meantime, I think the Christian community there should relocate to a safer and more tolerating community. Thanks for bringing this out in the open. I know Christians of all nationalities will join hands in prayer so that the situation there will stabilized and return to normalcy. God bless you always my friend.

Sita said...

My heart breaks even as it broke with the violence in Zimbabwe, Rwanda..."Father, You are still sovereign. Behind the instigators of violence lies the one who hates the apple of your eye, your children. Stay his hand in Your omnipotence, O Lord. Surround Your children. Release vast armies of angels to save and rescue. Shut the mouth of the lion. Expose the real killers of this Swami. I release to You what seems so big for me, because there is nothing that You cannot do. In the Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen."

Kostas said...

I am deep moved with these deplorably fact that happens in innocent persons, but also very vexed that the state do not intervene drastically it stops this! I pray they stop these fast ugly things that happen there!

Gudl said...

I am sorry to hear about the violence.
You are in my thoughts and prayers.
My 'problems'seem like nothing compared to that.
I don't have a problem! I am just in the middle of opening a German restaurant and it is a lot of work.But no problem. Just for you to know why I hardly have time to blog.
I send you my love.

Kimmie said...

Praying for peace and protection for you.

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

nvittal said...

All these fights and killings over religion are sad and dissappointing. At the end of the day - they were all human beings. It's hightime we start respecting human life more than religion and belief systems. These things are really getting out of control in India these days.

I've a weird feeling that we haven't seen the worst yet.

K M F said...

Praying for peace...
have a nice day

K M F said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Renae said...

Dear Amrita,

I'm praying for safety for you and all Christians in your community and country. I'm so sorry to hear about all this. Thank you for letting us know.


Brit. (lille meg) said...

Hi! I found your blog today by visiting another blog.
I can see that you are an evangelic bornagain Christian, and so am I, and therefore we have something in common.
I can understand a bit english, and I have learned more since I began blogging.I can write a bit too. I loved that language when I had it in school, but it is a long time ago since that, and I have forgotten a lot.
I'll be back here sooner or later, and see more in your blogsite.
Have a nice day!
Greetings from Norway.

Sheryl said...

Oh Amrita, how the Father's must be aching. I am so sorry to hear of this awful hatred and violence going on. Again it gives us such perspective and I reminder to be praying for our fellow Christians around the world.

Love to you my friend-

Pat said...

The persecution of Christians our prayers must continue. My heart too aches.
How far are you from Orissa? God is still in control, the world may toss and turn, but He is the master is the universe and in Him we place our trust.

Amrita said...

Thank you friends for your valuable prayers.

Welcome to lillie Meg. The photos on your blog are very pretty and I translated Norwegian into English.

Hi Pat,
We are two states removed from Orissa. I have never been to Orissa but have many friends there.