Christians respond to religious violence in India

By November 18, 2008

India (MNN) — Some church
leaders fear Hindu extremists have a "master plan" to wipe out
Christianity in eastern India. "The government is trying to
present to the world a normal picture; but that's because the Christians have
all fled." That's according Grace Wiebe with Christian Reformed World
Relief Committee.
While not confirming a
"master plan," she says it is evident that there is a blind eye to injustice.  

According to Gospel For Asia, Indian
newspapers report their government's long-awaited response to the Orissa
violence: A one-man commission began an investigation into the situation in
late October.

Bloody communal violence that
began in late August continues to spread. So far, it has left thousands homeless and added pressure on the believers
who are trying to help. There are roughly 20,000 people crammed
into 14 relief camps. Fifty-thousand more are hiding in the forest.

While the worst of the violence
subsided when authorities finally deployed soldiers to set up checkpoints and relief
camps, house burnings and beatings have continued, and Christian villagers say
they've been told they must convert to Hinduism.

However, despite fear mongering,
"We're working through our partner, EFICOR, and that includes blankets and
hygiene kits, some fuel for stoves, sleeping mats, and small household
items." Overall EFICOR will provide non-food items to 6,000
families. Four thousand families are staying in relief camps. Two thousand of
these families are in other parts of Orissa. 

This relief effort runs through the end of December. There IS a "Phase 2" planned. The rehabilitation phase happens
under the banner of Sphere Network Orissa and Inter Agency Group (a group of
NGOs) in coordination with the government of Orissa. 

Pray that people respond to the
Gospel as they see it in action. "There is some planned livelihood to be
integrated with peace and harmony, so we just need to pray that we can
re-integrate some of these folks into the community."  Christians in Orissa and other states depend
on prayer and the Lord's grace to make it through this time.

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