India (MNN) — A year after Hindu radicals drove Christians out of Orissa, India, 20,000 believers are still in refugee camps. The government had promised to help and make
attempts at reconciliation, but believers are still too fearful to return home, according to Gospel for Asia.
On top of that, many of them have nothing to return to. When they were run out, the extremists killed whoever they could capture of the 50,000 people who fled, then destroyed homes
GFA is doing what they can, despite the tensions, to help believers return to their villages. Supporters around the world have provided enough support for them to
build 240 homes. GFA has committed to building 1,000 in a single district, and the
building process has already begun.
Last year's violence began after the death of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a leader of a virulent anti-Christian Hindu nationalist group. Though Maoist took credit for the
murder, Hindu's still aimed their violent response at Christians.
K.P. Yohannan, president of GFA, pointed out that the political party that has allied with Hindu extremists has lost power in both state and national governments. This is a hopeful sign to Yohannan that such extreme Hindu persecution will not be ignored in the future.
The anniversary of the attacks on August 23 passed peacefully. Though there has been no
mass violence in the past year, local incidents are still an issue. Often, those who are responsible for the attacks on Christians are allowed to go free while Christians are often held in police custody. In one case, believers were asked not to share the Gospel for two months "to keep the peace." The missionaries refused. Violent incidents occur almost daily.
Yohannan urges believers to pray for peace for Christians in India. Also, pray that refugees will be able to return to their homes very soon and that GFA will have the resources
they need to meet their goal of building 1,000 homes.