Christians murdered in Orissa, no end in sight

By August 28, 2008

India (MNN) — The Washington, D.C.-based human rights group International Christian Concern (ICC) (www.persecution.org) has learned from sources within Orissa that anti-Christian violence continues with little to no response from the government.

Reports from inside India indicate at least 18 people are confirmed dead in 92 incidents of violence against Christian–this since suspected Maoists murdered Hindu leader Swamiji Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others on Saturday (Aug. 23) in Orissa state, says Compass News Direct (CND).

CND says there were many reports of Christians being pulled from their homes and killed or beaten, with many homes of Christians torched. According to reports by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), the East India office of Compassion International in Bhubaneswar was ransacked.

ICC has received numerous reports of carnage including the following: A 20-year-old woman attempted to stop Hindu extremists from attacking children in an orphanage and was thrown alive into a burning building. A priest was hospitalized with serious burn injuries resulting from this attack. A man suffering from paralysis was burned alive when Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) extremists torched his house. A young nun was gang raped by groups of Hindutva extremists. Buses and vehicles were torched. Mobs surrounded villages to attack Christians. Pastors, priests, and nuns have been injured. Christians have fled to the jungle to save their lives. ICC sources indicate that the Orissa government is not responding and that Christians in Orissa have lost trust in Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

This onslaught began over the weekend when Hindu extremist groups accused Christians of murdering VHP leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates on August 23, even though a Maoist organization has reportedly claimed responsibility.

Jeff King, ICC's president says, "The lack of government response is alarming, to say the least. The national government of India must step up to the plate and get Orissa officials like Shri Naveen Patnaik to act. At this point, the lack of any serious response from Orissa officials looks to the entire world as complicity with the radical Hindus that are doing the actual damage. Orissa officials should be held accountable, and the Biju Janata Dal-BJP coalition government should step down."

Many Christians believe the violence is in response to the large number of people who are coming to Christ in Orissa.

All those concerned should contact the Orissa Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to ask for protection for those being attacked.

Shri Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister
General Administration, Home Affairs Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road,
P.O.-Bhubaneswar, District-
Khurda Pin-751001 (Orissa) Office:
91-674-2531100
91-674-2531500 Res:
91-674-2590299
91-674-2591099 Fax:
91-674-2535100
91-674-2590833


Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi,
India-110 011 Phone:
91-11-23012312 Fax:
91-11-23019545 91-11-23016857

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