India (MNN) — Open Doors USA and other Christian leaders
are urging President Bush to take action against the escalating violence in
Thousands are seeking protection in refugee camps, and Christian leaders
are concerned with the number of people dying due to inadequate facilities,
reports Compass News. A congressional resolution was recently introduced that
calls on the Indian government to stop anti-Christian violence in Orissa and
protect religious freedom for Indians of all faiths.
Open Doors encourages
believers to call their representative and ask them to sign the resolution.
Anti-Christian violence in Orissa has left over 50,000
people homeless while claiming the lives of at least 500. Roughly 20,000 people
are crammed into 14 relief camps, and conditions are deteriorating.
"There is an epidemic of malaria, and water-borne diseases
are spreading rapidly," attorney B. D. Das told Compass News. "Public health is
pathetic in refugee camps."
Excess people in refugee camps are forced to return to their
homes, a local source told Compass. Rather than returning to their homes when
the refugee camps are full, fearful believers flee to the forests; 50,000
believers are hiding in the jungles of Orissa.
"As their homes are burnt, a plastic tent along with 10 days
food supply is given to them, and they are sent away," Das said. "Those in the
relief camps are still better off as they at least have food."
As conditions worsen in refugee camps, violence continues to
increase in its severity. A bounty has been placed on the heads of believers,
and Compass reports 700 forced conversions to Hinduism since the violence
started. Christians are forced to convert to Hinduism by burning Bibles and
prayer books, drinking cow urine for Hindu purification, and shaving their
heads. Compass also reported that a student group called for the conversions to
honor the work of Hindu leader Laxmananada Saraswati, whose death started the
persecution of Christians. Maoists later
admitted to the August 23 murder, but Hindu extremists have persisted in blaming
Open Doors encourages believers to help stop the violence in
Orissa by contacting their representative and requesting them to sign House
Concurrent Resolution 434. You can find your representative's phone number at
the Open Doors USA Web site by clicking here.