Ministry expresses horror at sectarian violence in Orissa, India

By September 5, 2008

India (MNN) — India's Prime Minister is demanding an end to the
violence between Hindus and Christians in Orissa. 

Nearly 500 additional official personnel were deployed in
riot-ravaged Kandhamal to maintain order. Efforts to quell the violence allowed life to begin limping back to
normal Wednesday.

Even though it appears order is being restored, Carl Moeller with Open Doors says the rhetoric he's hearing is disconcerting. "The Hindu
Nationalists say, 'India should be Hindu,' period. So, any religious minority–including Muslims, including Christians, including other faiths–should not
have a place." 

According to a report from Voice of the Martyrs Canada, at
least 36 people have been killed, hundreds of homes and churches have been
destroyed, and thousands of Christians are reportedly hiding in jungles.

Thousands of other Christians took refuge at state
government relief centers, although safety there was
not guaranteed. Voice of the Martyrs says there are reports of
Hindus raiding these centers and Christian villages, threatening the Christians
with violence if they do not convert to Hinduism immediately.

Open Doors is launching an official response this week. "Open Doors is going to be releasing an advocacy campaign that will be directed to the Indian government to step in and help protect the rights of its own citizens there in Orissa who are
Christian."

Please pray for Open Doors' partners who are on the ground in
Orissa. "What it does to missions, in general, is it puts a great deal of
concern and fear into individuals," says Moeller. "Church planters within the Indian society are more cautious. But I can
say from my conversations with other mission organizations that are directly
involved in church planting there, the work goes forward."

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