Christians forced to fend for themselves

By January 26, 2009

India (MNN) — Relief camps for persecuted believers have been shut down in India's Orissa state, according to a recent report from Voice of the Martyrs.

Only a few weeks ago, the Indian Supreme Court ordered officials to protect Christians in Orissa. Some ministries reported uncertainty as to how this mandate would be carried out; now it appears their weariness was merited.

VOM contacts say that officials have shut down relief camps and provided minimal compensation. Some Christians have been given a sum of 10,000 rupees by the government to help them on their way. This amounts to about $201 USD and will not be sufficient in the long term. It is unclear as to whether or not the government views this as an attempt to set these refugees on a path to normalcy.

Obtaining employment will be difficult for many, as tensions between Christians and Hindus remain high in the mostly-Hindu nation. Believers who have been residing in the camps have lost most or all of their possessions and have no homes to return to now that they have been forced to leave.

Although the attacks by Hindu extremists seem to have decreased in Orissa since the swell of violence that began in August 2008, there clearly remains a spiritual battle in the country.

VOM is helping as they can, having provided immediate assistance and Bibles since the attacks began. VOM continues to offer support through their Families of Martyrs fund to those who have lost family members as a result of the violence.

Pray that officials in Orissa would work to help and protect believers. Pray for provision for the Christians, who are once again displaced, that they might find shelter and stability.

If you can help VOM reach these suffering believers, click here.

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