New Delhi, Aug.29 (ANI): The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today claimed that over 50 persons, mainly Christians, have been killed since the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists launched an attack on Christians last week.
It said that the deaths followed the murder of four of VHP members, including 90-year-old Laxmananda Saraswati by unidentified gunmen on August 23, 2008.
Providing the names of 20 victims killed so far, it said: “This is an abject failure of the Indian State to protect the right to life of the citizens. Since all entry roads have been blocked with logs and the law enforcement personnel have access to remote areas of the district, the Hindu fundamentalists are being allowed to carry out mass killings of the Christians.”
Suhas Chakma, Director of ACHR, stated that thousands of Christians have fled their villages and some 5,000 people are now living in seven relief camps at Chakapad, Tikabali, G. Udaygiri, Raikia, Baliguda, K.Nuagoan and Phiringia.
About 200 villages have been affected by the organized attacks and hundreds of churches, including house churches have been burnt, he added.
Criticizing the Orissa Government, the ACHR stated that instead of increasing security, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had suspended the Superintendent of Police of Kandhamal and ordered a judicial probe. It further accused Patnaik of ordering an investigation by the State Crime Branch and no one knows who is in charge of inquiries.
“What was required was the deployment of security forces given the attacks on the Christians during the Christmas in 2007,” asserted Chakma.
It called for the restoration of the rule of law and appropriate redressal to victims displaced by the violence, besides establishing an independent inquiry into the events to establish responsibility and take steps to prevent any further politicization of communal tensions. (ANI)
Friday, August 29, 2008
New Delhi, Aug.29 (ANI): The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today claimed that over 50 persons, mainly Christians, have been killed since the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists launched an attack on Christians last week.
The killing of VHP’s Swami Laxmananda Saraswati in Orissa has set off a wave of communal violence
COMMUNALLY-SENSITIVE Kandhamal district, the site where India’s worst-ever anti-Christian violence broke out last December, is a lit fuse fast inching into conflagration after the gunning down of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Laxmananda Saraswati and five other persons last week.
Mourning Children paying homage to Swami Laxmananda Saraswati
Eighty-five-year-old Sarsawati, who was an active campaigner for converting the state’s Christian tribals to Hinduism, had been a guest at an ashram for girls in Jalasapeta village in Kandhamal’s Tumudibandha block. On the evening of August 24, armed assailants entered the ashram and fired indiscriminately; along with Laxmanananda, two women and a child were also among those killed. The assailants are suspected to have been Maoists — a letter found at the spot bore the name of one Azad, said to be from the Bashadhara Committee of the CPI (Maoist), and stated that the VHP leader “had to pay the price for last year’s riots”. State Director-General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda was, however, cautious about assigning responsibility for the assassination, stating only that it appeared to have been the work of “extremists”.
The VHP, however, has been quick to blame Kandhamal’s Christians, reopening the floodgates to the poison that swept the district in the last weeks of 2007. Saraswati was at the centre of that conflagration as well with a rumoured attack on him last Christmas Eve providing the impetus for the riots that killed at least four people and damaged over 800 homes. Most of those affected were families below the poverty line, the average economic profile in this deeply under-developed region. As of this writing, in the upsurge of rage that has followed Saraswati’s assassination, a lynch mob has reportedly burned one person (a paralytic) alive; at least three prayer houses and 10 homes are said to have been gutted as well. An orphanage in Phutapali in Bargarh district was set on fire. A pastor was hurt in the fire, but 20 children escaped unhurt. Road and rail blockades and demonstrations across the state have prompted the issuing of prohibitory orders in Kanhamal, while the rest of Orissa is on high alert.
Saraswati, a member of the VHP’s central advisory committee, had apparently anticipated an attack for some time. Last Friday, he had sought security cover from the Tumudibandha police station. Who he was in apprehension of is not immediately known, but, after last year’s riots, while Christian groups blamed the VHP, he, in turn, accused local Maoists of fomenting communal tensions. Just before his arrival in Tumudibandha, he had been an active participant in a state-wide agitation over the Amaranath shrine land row.
Bordering the notoriously impoverished Kalahandi, Kandhamal shares in its neighbour’s indigence. The district’s population is numbered at over six lakh, more than half of whom are Kandh tribals, who are mainly Hindu. Dalit Panos form another 18 percent of the population; of them 70 percent are among the district’s 1,50,000 Christians. Communal animosity here is thus steeped in the added venom of tribe versus under-caste, locked in contest for the advantages that accrue from reservations. Flashpoints have erupted between the two for 20 years now. VHP belligerence over conversions, however, has a history here of more than four decades. Saraswati’s main ashram at Kandhamal’s Chakapad was established in the late 1960s. It has been stoking anti-Christian sentiment in the region ever since.
This week will be a tense time not only in Kandhamal but across Orissa. The state’s politicians, bureaucracy and police have been blamed in the past for the deep communal polarisation said to be entrenched in their ranks. In the days to come, Saraswati will be hailed as a martyr while Orissa’s minorities will wait in dread. The political will of Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik to prevent the state from descending into carnage is now under great test. •
Kolkata (PTI):Christians on Friday took out a procession here demanding protection for the members of the community and churches in violence-torn areas in Orissa's Kandhamal and Bargarh districts.
Protesters, under the banner of Bangiya Christiya Pariseba, an apex body of Christians, assembled near Utkal Bhavan and demanded immediate deployment of military and para-military forces to control the situation.
They held placards reading 'CM, answer why Christians are being persecuted in Orissa'.
The group said organisations involved in "anti-national" activities should be banned and submitted memoranda to the Resident Commissioner of Utkal Bhavan, addressed to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Governor and Chairman of National Human Rights Commission.
All Church-run schools remained closed in West Bengal as part of protests against alleged attack on Christians in parts of Orissa.
Bhubaneswar, August 28: Mobs ransacked a church and clashed with Christian villagers in Orissa on Thursday, police said, as authorities struggled to control spiralling religious violence in the region.
Mobs have destroyed more than a dozen churches and attacked Christians in eastern Orissa this week after the murder of a VHP leader in Kandhamal district, a tribal area where Christian missionaries have been active for years.
Shoot-on-sight orders and curfews to control violence have so far failed to end clashes that have killed at least 11 people.
Police deployed more than 3,000 personnel in the streets on Thursday but they could not stop the ransacking of at least one church. Local media said as many as four churches were attacked.
"Police are marching in several areas now," Orissa police chief Gopal Chandra Nanda said.
Television pictures showed mobs armed with rods putting up road blocks on Thursday and others attacking churches.
Other mobs armed with bows and arrows and axes have attacked Christian homes, dragging out women and children. Hundreds have fled to forests and nearby hills, officials said.
"Moments after we passed by a Christian village, people set it on fire and everything was over within minutes," a senior police officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said from Kandhamal, the worst-hit district.
Around the Kandhamal area, home to around 650,000 people, more than 20 per cent of the mainly tribal inhabitants are Christian converts.
Religious violence has troubled tribal regions of Orissa for years, with Hindus and Christians fighting over conversions.
While Hindu groups accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and Hindus to change their faith, the Christians say Hindus convert willingly to escape a complex caste system.
The killings have drawn international reactions. Pope Benedict has condemned the violence against Christians in Orissa but also deplored the killing of the Hindu leader.
On Thursday, peace committees were set up in villages to bring community leaders together for talks, but Christians in many villages said attacks were worse than what the government has said.
Bhopal : Five Schools and a Church attacked in Madhya Pradesh following the protest closure of institutions, on 29th August 2008, run by the Christian community in Madhya Pradesh. The members belonging to the VHP, Bajrangdal and other organizations carried out these attacks in Gwaliar district, Barwani district and a Church in Gwaliar district.
Fr. John Xaiver , Vicar General of Gwaliar diocese, said ,“the protesters came to four of our Christian schools shouting slogans against Christians , the police reached in time. Therefore damage was controlled.” After visiting the affected schools and Church Advocate Raju Francis , the Vice President of the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh , called on the people of Madhya Pradesh to develop courage to face any impending incidents.
The schools attacked in Gwaliar are , Carmel Convent school, St. Teresa’s School , St. Paul School and St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran School. Sr. Theodoerit, principal Carmel Convent school said, “they came and started shouting slogans and braking whatever was in their vicinity. Christians and police came in time so damage limited.” In the St. Paul Lutheran School the situation is worse their school and school bus which was out side parked was attacked. Rev. S P Das is the principal of this school. Fr. Nixon , the principal of St. Teresa’s school said that the miscreants destroyed many things in a short time. They entered the Church before they could do any thing people and police came to the campus and they went away shouting slogans.
In Barvani a large group of VHP and Bajrangdal members came to the school on 28th August itself protesting the closure of the school. Principal Fr. Jose P A said ,”I have closed the school, I have clearly conveyed this to the protesters that the management will abide by the decisions of the CBCI, the highest decisions making body of the Catholic Church.
Mr. Kurishinkal Joshi , President of the Madhya Pradesh Isai said “the protest is complete in Madhya Pradesh , along with Catholic institutions the non-catholic institutions too joined the protest. We had said all our district units to talk to all Christian institutions to close institutions as a mark of our respect towards those who died.”
Fr. Anand Muttungal, the PRO & Spokesperson, Catholic Council of Bishops and coordinator of the M.P Isai Mahasangh , said, “We must not be happy with the closure of institutions but continue to helpo the victims, We are holding a Srandhanjali Sabha,(Gathering to pay tribute to those died in riots), to pay our respect to the deceased and ask God’s blessing to face all situations. After this a Vehicle Rally will be taken out to the Madhya Pradesh Congress Party State Head Office in Bhopal. We will submit a memorandum addressed to UPA Chair person Mrs. Sonia Gandhi. This is to appeal to the Central Government to initiate steps to contain the violence.”
Bhopal district president of the M.P Isai Mahasang, Mr. Antony John said, “ the congress seems to be equally responsible for the worst situation in Orissa. It took long time to act and it gave the rioters time to attack more Christians.”
Fr. Anand Muttungal
PRO & Spokesperson
Catholic Council of Bishops, M.P
At the culmination of the Protest and Prayer Rally of the Christians of Delhi and National Capital Region at Orissa Bhawan on 29th August 2008, and the closure of all Christian institutions in the country in solidarity with their brothers and sisters in the State
His Excellency Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare
The Governor of Orissa
In deep anguish and pain, We, the Christian Community of the Delhi and National Capital Region, submit this memorandum to you, and not to the Chief Minister of Orissa, because we believe that by not stopping the
Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in Orissa in the last six days, he has abdicated his Constitutional duties to the Sangh Parivar and thereby has forfeited his right to be in Government.
We therefore approach you, as the Constitutional Head of the State of Orissa and protector of the rights of the State’s citizens irrespective of their religion, caste or ethnic status, to restore sanity, peace, and the Rule of Law in the State, protect the life, liberty and property of the Christian community, specially in Kandhamal and other affected districts.
As you know, in the last six days in the second wave of mass violence since Christmas 2007, almost a score of Christian men and women have been brutally killed in acts reminiscent of the massacre of the Sikhs in Delhi and other places in 1984, and of the Muslims in 1993 in
Mumbai and 2002 in Gujarat.
Nuns have been raped, pastors, Priests, religiousworkers injured in their hundreds. Over forty churches have been destroyed, many for the second time, apart from once again hundreds upon hundreds of houses burnt in towns, villages and forest settlements. Christians have been chased and hunted like animals. In case your intelligence apparatus has not briefed you properly, we attach herewith an incomplete list of the murder and mayhem in Orissa, as we gather data from the victims
and the kin of the dead.
There is no element of doubt as to who is the perpetrator of the violence. It is the Sangh Parivar, and its component elements, the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and the Vanvasi Kalyan Sangh, and especially groups connected with the ashrams of the late VHP Vice president Lakshmanananda Saraswati.
VHP leaders, including Mr. Praveen Togadia have openly called for ethnic cleansing, and others have vowed not to rest from their bloody labours till they have rid Orissa of Christians.
The police have looked on for six months. They have often abetted in the violence and never intervened to save the hapless Christians and their institutions.
Instead, the official machinery and the top policemen and bureaucrats have parroted the lies of the Hindutva Sangh Parivar and its narrow definition of religious nationalism to pin the blame of the acrimony on the Christians.
If the Chief minister and his government have forfeited their right to govern, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director General of Police have lost their right to be in active service. It is a shame they continue to be in office, and speaks volumes for the conspiracy between the Government, the coalition partner Bharatiya Janata party and the State official apparatus against the Christian community and the Christian Faith.
The state apparatus has failed thrice – to protect the Christians in December 2007, to protect the late VHP leader and unravel the mystery of his murder, and then to once again protect the Christians facing annihilation in August 2008.
We therefore call upon you as Governor to:
1. Write to the President of India to impose President’s Rule in Orissa, and that you take over the reigns of Governance so that peace is restored in Kandhamal and other districts.
2. Immediately suspend not constables and junior officials, but the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Director General of Police for gross dereliction of duty, and for joining the conspiracy to wipe out Christians in Orissa.
3. Hand over the Kandhamal district in particular to the Indian Army, which alone can restore the confidence of the victims.
4. Trace the many people reported abducted, some feared dead or injured, in the last six days
5. Bring back the tens of thousands of Christians Tribals and Dalit villagers hiding for their lives in the forests, most of them without food and adequate drinking water
6. Hand over all investigations relating to the circumstances and course of violence to the Central Bureau of Investigations. The CBI should also investigate the murder of VHP leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati.
7. Expand the terms of reference of the sitting Judicial Commission headed by Mr. Justice Basudeo Panigrahi to fix responsibility and culpability on government servants of all ranks, as also on guilty politicians.
8. Grant exemplary compensation to the next of kin of the dead, and to the injured. Grant immediate relief and rehabilitation to the victims so that they can rebuild their homes, get back their jobs and resume
normal human lives.
9. Compensate the Church to rebuild and restore its religious, educations, and humanitarian institutions.
10. Set up Fast Track criminal court to try those found guilty at all levels during all phases of the violence.
This alone will prove to the world that India remains a secular country, which gives Constitutional guarantees of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the freedom of faith to its citizens, and for its children, the right to food, education and a childhood without the trauma of terror and the fear of death,
God bless you, and God bless Orissa
The Christian Community of Delhi and the National Capital Region
Together with our brothers and sisters from other states.
New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) Nearly 45,000 schools, colleges and other educational institutes run by Christian organisations around the country were closed Friday to protest the continued violence against the community in Orissa.
"All our schools and colleges are closed today (Friday). Let me clarify, survival is more important than education," said Babu Joseph, spokesman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI).
He said they are holding a peaceful protest to voice concern against continued violence against the community in Orissa, where at least 11 people have died in communal violence since Saturday evening.
"There is almost an ethnic cleansing in the state," Joseph told IANS.
Orissa has been on the boil since Saturday when Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and four others were killed at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district.
His killing triggered violence in the state against the Christian community by some Hindu groups.
Joseph said there are around five million students studying in these 45,000 institutions and this protest will certainly bring spotlight on the issue.
He said their community members have carried out protest marches across the country.
In Delhi scores of Christians marched to Orissa Bhawan, the office of the state resident commissioner, to protest the violence. Several schools and colleges like St. Stephens College, St Columba’s School and Somerville School were closed for the day.
"Our teachers told us Thursday that our school is closed Friday," said Astha Singh, a student of Somerville School in east Delhi.
Similarly institutions run by missionaries in Shimla, Dharamsala and Dalhousie towns in Himachal Pradseh remained closed.
"The college is closed to express solidarity for the violence victims,’ said Shimla’s St. Bede’s principal Sister Melba.
A group of Christian leaders had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday and appraised him about the situation in Orissa. Joseph said the prime minister had assured them the government would "take all steps to bring peace and normalcy".
In Kerala, around 5,900 educational institutions remained closed. The institutions in Kerala included four medical colleges and 11 engineering colleges run by the Catholic Church.
Other Christian denominations like the Church of South India (CSI) and Marthoma Syrian Church joined the protest against the violence.
"All those attending our institutions will attend work wearing black badges,’ said an official of Marthoma Church at its headquarters in Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district.
New Delhi, Aug 29 (PTI) Expressing serious concern over the communal violence in Orissa that claimed several lives, the Centre today said it favoured a CBI probe into the incidents.
"We would have liked ideally that this matter be handed over to the CBI because those responsible should get justice immediately as judicial probe takes longer time," Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal told reporters when asked whether the Orissa violence came up for discussion at the meeting of the Union Cabinet.
He, however, said it was for the state government to recommend a probe by the Central investigating agency as the Centre could not do it on its own.
Describing the incidents as a matter of grave concern to the Centre, he said "the Prime Minister, in fact, spoke to the Chief Minister and the Governor and assured the state government it would give whatever help needed to bring back normalcy".
Sibal said this kind of "senseless destruction by individuals belonging to a particular organisation shall not be tolerated".
Asserting that the Centre was committed to secularism, he said "there shall be no dilution in that commitment." He hoped that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would take strong measures to bring back normalcy and ensure quick justice to the victims and rehabilitate them.
Sibal said it was "worrisome" that over 2,000 houses have been destroyed in the continuing violence.
Asked repeatedly whether Bajrang Dal would be banned as it activists were caught making bombs, he parried a direct reply saying it was a very serious situation and communal elements were responsible for it.
NEW DELHI: At least 3,000 people, most of them Christians, are living in government-run relief camps after days of Christian-versus-Hindu violence in eastern India, government officials said.
The government said that many people were also living in the jungle without any shelter and security because of the tensions, which erupted in violence after a Hindu leader was killed Saturday. At least 10 people, most of them Christians, have been killed since.
Christian community leaders say that at least 1,000 Christian homes have been set on fire since Monday, rendering more than 5,000 people homeless.
Many of those living in the jungle were without food or water, said the Rev. Dibakar Parichha, a priest at the Roman Catholic church in Phulbani, a town in Orissa State. Father Parichha said that about 90 places of worship, including small churches and prayer halls, had been burned down. Local officials said the figure was about 20.
The violence has occurred in Kandhamal, a district in Orissa State that has a history of communal and ethnic clashes. The latest conflict started Saturday night, when unidentified armed men stormed a Hindu school in Kandhamal and killed the Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his followers.
The police suspected that Maoist rebels were responsible. But Hindus blamed Christians. In the retaliatory violence, 500 houses were burned. All nine towns in the district are under a curfew, and the police have license to shoot. At least two people have been killed in violent reprisals in other districts of Orissa, including a woman who died when an orphanage was burned down.
"We are supposed to take drastic action against whosoever indulges in violence" said R. P. Koche, the police chief in Kandhamal District. The local police force has been reinforced by 2,500 paramilitary troops, he said. The district magistrate, Dr. Krishna Kumar, said the situation was tense but under control, and that more then 200 people had been arrested.
On Wednesday, during his weekly address at the Vatican, Pope Benedict XVI said, "I firmly condemn any attack on human life," and said that he was "profoundly saddened" by the violence in Orissa. He called the killing of Saraswati "deplorable."
To protest the violence against Christians in Orissa, more than 40,000 Christian educational institutions across India will be closed on Friday in compliance with a call by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India and other Christian denominations.
Friday, 29 August , 2008, 12:34
Last Updated: Friday, 29 August , 2008, 12:52
Bhubaneswar: The communal violence that erupted in Orissa after the killing of five people, including a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, continued for the seventh day on Friday with stray incidents being reported from Kandhamal district despite a curfew, police said.
“There have been stray incidents of violence in parts of Kandhamal” a police official told IANS on phone from district headquarters Phulbani.
The areas where violence broke out included Phiringia, Tikabali and Udayagiri.
"Mobs have blocked roads in several places and police are trying to clear them,” the official said.
"Although 4,000 policemen have been deployed in Kandhamal district, which is the worst hit, Hindu and Christian rioters have clashed in several places. We have arrested at least 137 people in the district since Saturday," he added.
However, officials at the police headquarters here said that things were peaceful in the rest of the state.
Educational institutions run by Christians remained closed across the state on Friday as a part of nationwide protest against the violence in which Christians were targeted, according to its community leaders.
“Policemen have been ordered to shoot rioters at sight and curfew is in force in all major towns of Kandhamal. Security forces have been taking out flag marches in several areas," a government official said.
Police said 11 people have been killed in the violence since Saturday. However, local TV channels and newspapers said at least 17 people have died in the communal violence and the bodies of 13 people had been found.
Asit Kumar Mohanty, regional coordinator of the Global Council of Indian Christians, claimed that 30 Christians had been killed since Saturday.
"As per our estimate, 10,000 Christian families have fled to the forests after their houses were burnt and they were attacked by rioters. Over 4,000 people have been injured and more than 20,000 houses have been burnt," Mohanty told IANS.
However, government sources said the figures given by Mohanty were exaggerated. Kandhamal district officials said about 4,000 Christian families had fled their homes.
"It is an emotional and spontaneous reaction of people to the killing of Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati," Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, an administrative official camping in Kandhamal, said.
The state has been on the boil since the killing of Saraswati, a member of the central advisory committee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and four others on Saturday evening by suspected Maoist guerrillas at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district.
Saraswati was leading a campaign against cow slaughter and religious conversion in the communally sensitive district - which with a population of around 600,000 including 150,000 Christians has witnessed numerous clashes between Hindus and Christians in the past.
Radical Hindu groups in the state alleged that Christians killed Saraswati because he was opposing religious conversion. Christian organisations deny the allegation.
Saraswati's supporters have been holding protests since Saturday night, blocking trains and vehicles.
Orissa is no stranger to communal violence between Hindus and Christians.
"People are very angry and the government needs to immediately arrest the Christian militants who killed Swamiji,” said Subash Chauhan, leader of Hindu extremist group Bajrang Dal.
On January 22, 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, 10-year-old Philip and six-year-old Timothy, were burnt alive by a Hindu radical mob in their vehicle in Keonjhar district.
New York (PTI): Human Rights Watch, Christian Solidarity Network, Dalit Freedom Network and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty have appealed to foreign ministers in the EU and the US to immediately call for an end to the sectarian violence in India's Orissa.
"International statements of concern are urgently needed to express solidarity with the victims, to help forestall yet more violence and to prevent the further loss of life," said a letter sent to the European Commissioner for External Relations, the Foreign Ministers of French, European Affairs, the British Foreign Secretary, and the US.
"We, therefore request that you make a statement to call for an end to the sectarian violence and for the protection of vulnerable communities as soon as possible," it said.
"Mobs have been attacking minority Christians in retaliation for the killing of local religious leader Swami Lakhmananda Saraswati," says the letter, adding as of August 27, at least nine people have been killed, a nun gang-raped, and churches and houses have been destroyed in at least 12 districts.
Condemning the murder of Swami, allegedly by Naxalite (Maoist) insurgents, the letter said: "the fact that Christians have been made the scapegoats and victims of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad backlash is deplorable and calls for urgent intervention."
The outbreak of violence, it said, follows widespread attacks on Christian targets beginning in December 2007. Swami Saraswati, it said, was "widely implicated" in the incitement of those attacks and in "stirring anti-Christian hatred in Orissa state, but he was never prosecuted by the State authorities.
Source: Hindu Newspaper
Ayodhya, August 24 Nearly 500 sadhus of Ayodhya demanded a ban on Bajrang Dal in view of the recent Kanpur blast. On Thursday, the priests held a meeting and asked the government to arrest the top leaders of the outfit to prevent any untoward incident.
The meeting was organised by Ayodhya ki Awaz, an organisation of sadhus and mahants, at Saryu Kunj temple, adjacent to the disputed site of Ram Janma Bhumi.
Demanding an inquiry into the activities of Bajrang Dal, the sadhus decided to create a public opinion against the religious outfit and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Mahant Bhawnath Das, a senior sadhu of Hanumangarhi temple, said, “The explosions at Nanded, Thane and Kanpur have revealed the dangerous plans of Bajrang Dal.” Convener of Ayodhya Ki Awaz, Mahant Jugal Kishore Sharan Shastri said: “We have urged Chief Minister Mayawati not to ignore such elements. She must take steps to crush such miscreants.”
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Dr. John Dayal
Member: National Integration Council, Government of India
On behalf of
All India Catholic Union and Federation of Catholic Associations of
All India Christian Council
United Christian Action, Delhi
505 Link, 18 IP Extension, Delhi 110092 India
Phone: 91-11-22722262 Mobile 09811021072
28 August 2008
Honourable Mrs Sonia Gandhi
Congress President and Chairperson, UPA
10 Janpath, New Delhi
Re: Call to end Ethnic cleansing of Christians in Orissa
I am writing this to bring to your notice the utter failure of the
Government of Orissa to bring a halt to the killing of Christians, the
destruction of their properties and the persecution of their Church in
the state in general, and in the district of Kandhamal in particular.
Although the Orissa government is a coalition of the Biju Janata Dal
and the Bharatiya Janata Party, it is the BJP which is running the
show and has complete control of the government, the police and the
relief and rehabilitation ministries. The government has also given
full freedom to the RSS, the VHP to carry on their aggression on the
I would like to point out that the Christian community has
unequivocally denounced the murder of VHP vice president
Lakshmanananda Saraswati who was killed in Kandhamal some days ago,
reportedly by Maoist groups. The state government failed thrice. They
failed in December 2007 to protect Christians from VHP and RSS
violence in which more then 100 churches were destroyed and thousands
rendered homeless. They failed again this time when about 30
Christians have been killed, a nun gang raped, another woman burnt
alive, many priests grievously injured and hundreds of houses burnt. I
am attaching herewith the list of persons killed, injured and
destruction of Churches in the last four days.
There is urgent need to restore peace, to stop the targeting and
persecution of Christians which is tantamount to the Ethnic Cleansing
of Christians from Orissa. BHP and its leaders like Praveen Togadia
have openly said is their avowed target
We request that:
1. The Union Government must authorise the Army to move its troops
into affected blocks of Kandhamal district where the local police and
RAF have failed miserably.
2. The Centre must order a CBI enquiry into the murder of the VHP
leader, and he ensuing violence to trace the guilty in both cases.
3. Urgent compensation to the kin of the dead and the injured, relief
and rehabilitation must be taken so that the tens of thousands of
Christians now hiding in the forest of and other districts can return
home. Government must rebuild their house and also rebuild every
single church that has been destroyed.
Dear Madam, it is the fair name of India that is being tarnished in
this anti Christian violence. The Union Government has to act, and it
has to make the State Government to wake up to its Constitutional
I am sure you will advice the Union government and request the Prime
Minister to do whatever is necessary in this regard.
Dr John Dayal
For more information, contact:
Dr. Sam Paul, aicc Secretary Public Affairs
For immediate release
Massive violence against Christians continues unabated in Orissa
Christian organizations call for national shut-down of educational institutions on Friday
HYDERABAD – August 27, 2008
Violent attacks against Christians in the eastern state of Orissa continued 5th day. The Christian leaders across denominations are calling for Christian educational institutions to peacefully protest by closing schools on Friday. In positive news, a key appeal was won in the Orissa High Court this afternoon to protect victims and restore order.
“Some people have called the violence ‘Hindu-Christian clashes’. But this is not accurate. Innocent Christians – mostly of Dalit origin – continue to be attacked by communal organizations which are mocking the rule of law. Governance in Orissa state appears to have disintegrated,” said Dr. Joseph D’souza, President of the All India Christian Council (aicc).
“We call for all church and Christian educational institutions of Catholic, Protestant, Independent, and unaffiliated Christian denominations in the service of society to close for one day,” said Sam Paul, aicc National Secretary of Public Affairs. The aicc is supporting the call from church networks -- including the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the Evangelical Fellowship of India, and the National Council of Churches in India -- to close Christian schools on Friday, Aug. 29, 2008. A letter sent by these groups said in part:
“Communal organizations have taken the law into their hands in 12 districts of Orissa and are going about targeting not only institutions but also persons. What is at stake is not only the freedom of conscience of a minority community but India’s secular democracy, its commitment to human rights and constitutional guarantees. The destructive and divisive communal forces have to be stopped. We want this message to go across to our fellow countrymen and that is why we are closing our educational institutions on Friday, 29th August 2008 in deep sorrow and anguish. We hope parents become aware of the implications of the incidents in Orissa. We also request all our people to pray for the victims of violence in Orissa and other places and their near and dear ones. We also pray for the misguided perpetrators of violence that they may mend their ways and become responsible citizens.”
A non-sectarian group of lawyers won an important appeal in the Orissa High Court this morning. Lawyers from the Human Rights Law Network filed “Sangram Mallick vs. Union of India”, Writ Petition Civil, No. 12318 of 2008. The petitioner and his organization, Ambedkar Lohia Vichar Manch, sought rehabilitation of all victims, provision of relief, and increased protection -- including deployment of more security forces such as Central Reserve Police Forces. A division bench of the High Court in Cuttack, Orissa, including Chief Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice B.N. Mahapatra, specifically directed the state’s District Collectors to help victims return safely from hiding in the forests to their homes.
In the aftermath of the murder of a Hindu swami by unknown assailants on Aug. 23, 2008, mobs attacked the Christian community across the eastern state of Orissa. On Monday, a 12 hour strike called by hardliner Hindu nationalist organizations resulted in spreading violence. Media reports and eye witness accounts indicate about a dozen Christians were killed and thousands of Christian properties burnt. See dedicated webpage at: http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2332/45/
From Dec. 24, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008, attacks in Kandhamal district killed at least four Christians and destroyed over 100 churches and 730 Christian homes. Several dozen women were sexually harassed and assaulted, and more than 40 shops belonging to Christians were looted and destroyed. Most of the victims were Dalits, formerly known as untouchables.
The All India Christian Council (www.aiccindia.org), birthed in 1998, exists to protect and serve the Christian community, minorities, and the oppressed castes. The aicc is a coalition of thousands of Indian denominations, organizations, and lay leaders.
Regional Secretary, New Delhi
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The murder last Saturday of senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmananand Saraswati and four of his disciples in Orissa's Kandhamal district is a matter of concern, just as any such horrible crime perpetrated against any group of people would be. But the Naveen Patnaik government appears to have come up with nothing so far. Instead, it watched helplessly as the Hindutva affiliates, including the BJP, a partner in the coalition government in the state, the RSS, VHP and others, went on a rampage on Monday in seeking to enforce a protest bandh call given by them. They held the entire state to ransom and specifically targeted the Christian community, although fingers in the Saraswati murder case have been pointed at the Naxalites who appear to have a free run in the state.
Five people, including a paralysed man and a 20-year-old girl, an orphanage assistant who could have been a nun, were burnt to death. The others died of asphyxia when their village huts were torched. Churches were set on fire. As saffron activists sought to impose their statewide shutdown, thousands of vehicles were damaged and hundreds set ablaze. All life was brought to a standstill, and the state virtually brought to its knees. It appeared that the Hindutva fanatics had obtained the licence to create mayhem.
No duly constituted authority can countenance such wanton disregard of the law, but the Naveen Patnaik government is guilty of just that. It is indeed strange that the state government is silent on
the Saraswati murder as well as on the gory events during the bandh sponsored by the saffron combine. This gives the impression that the authorities are conniving with the fanatics under political compulsion, for if Saraswati's murderers were to be nailed, it would take away the self-serving justification of the Hindutva brigade that Orissa Christians were instrumental. It is, of course, perverse to seek to punish a religious community even if one of them is actually found guilty. Such logic is not acceptable in a democratic order. If the BJD-BJP coalition is serious about governance, it should make a transparent effort to book those suspected of indulging in Monday's orgy of violence and the murder of the VHP swami and his associates two days earlier. Orissa is acquiring the dubious reputation of being a state in which the Christian community is routinely set upon by Hindutva activists. Churches had been burnt in the state last December also. In January 1999, the world was shocked when Bajrang Dal activists led by one Dara Singh (who was convicted in 2003) burnt to death Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons as they slept. Is Orissa going the Gujarat way: becoming a Hindutva laboratory?
Indian bishop calls events shameful for the state
by Nirmala Carvalho
The Holy See has called on everyone to rebuild an atmosphere of dialogue and reconciliation. Cardinal Gracias, who chairs the conference of Indian bishops, accuses the government of being too slow in acting and the police of being ineffective. He expresses sorrow for the death of Hindu fundamentalist leader Swami Laxamananda. Violence against nuns and missionaries, who give their life for the social development of the population, is "diabolic". Mother Teresa's successor Sister Nirmala Joshi says that one cannot be disciple of Christ without paying the price, on the Cross.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Vatican has expressed "solidarity to the Churches and religious congregations" of India, victimised by violence. It has called on everyone to rebuild an "atmosphere of dialogue and mutual respect." The Indian Church and the Sisters of Mother Teresa have welcomed the appeal for reconciliation, but in Orissa the acts of destruction, including the burning of homes, churches and Christian institutions, keep rising.
The Press Office of the Holy See issued a statement today reproving "these actions which are prejudicial to people's dignity and freedom and compromise peaceful coexistence."
From Mumbai, the chairman of the Bishops' Conference of India Card Oswald Gracias said he was following "with sorrow and sadness" the unfolding events in Orissa.
For him the government bears a heavy responsibility. "How could they [the government] not foresee ahead of time such a situation and take the necessary preventive measures to avert this large scale mayhem?" said the prelate.
The prelate noted that last December similar incidents took place in the same area with villages under siege, churches set on fire and people killed.
For the chairman of Indian bishops such episodes are a "shameful for India within the international community; it is a blot on India's image. The international community might end up seeing us as a nation where the government is slow to act and police is ineffective."
Cardinal Gracias said he was saddened by the death of Swami Laxamananda, whose murder sparked violence by Hindu fundamentalists who blamed Christians for it.
"The Indian Church immediately condemned the murder of the Guruji. The Church has never been a party to any violence. The vendetta against Christians is pure madness."
The prelate described the rape of a nun and the death of a lay woman missionary burnt to death as "barbaric and perverse".
"Our Women religious have given their lives to empower the same people who are now assaulting them," he said. "Our nuns have given dignity to these people through the social ministry of the Church and today they are brutalised by this senseless mob. This is diabolical."
Sister Nirmala Joshi, who succeeded Mother Teresa at the helm of the Missionaries of Charity, said that "it was painful to see that the people we serve, for whom we are doing good work, can do such things . . . . We must never the less forgive and go on with the eyes focused on our mission."
Meanwhile a hospital for the elderly run by the Missionaries of Charity was destroyed (for a second time). Some Sisters of Mother Teresa have been attacked with stones. Sister Nirmala has remained in constant contact with them.
"Pope Benedict XVI said that the Blessed Mother Teresa was a real disciple of Christ. [. . .] But without the Cross there is no Jesus. Can we be disciples of Christ without paying the price like him, on the Cross?"
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
26/8/2008 7:39:12 PM(IST)
The death toll from Monday''s violence in Orissa during a bandh called by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has gone up to 9.
"There are reports that four to five people have been killed in fresh violence. The deaths are from yesterday's violence. There is no fresh violence. We have also clamped a curfew in Kandhamal district to avoid any violence," a senior Orissa government official clarified.
Officials are in the process of identifying five of the dead, sources said.
The government's statement that the Maoists were behind the murders has also been contested.
"Saying Naxals are behind the attack is totally misleading and orchestrated. This is an attack by the agents of Christian missionaries, whose attempts at forcible conversions the Swamiji countered," said a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh spokesperson.
He also blamed the state government for failing to protect Swami Lakshmanananda even after he lodged a lodged a formal complaint.
Lakhsmanananda came to Chakapada village in 1966, after which he set up schools and hostels for tribal children in the region.
"They tried and failed for seven times. The eighth time they have succeeded. A week before he was killed, he had received an anonymous threat that said he would soon be killed. Though he lodged a formal complaint, the officials did not do anything about it," a local functionary said.
Local observers also blamed the government for not giving the Swamiji enough protection and also not doing enough to douse the communal tension after December when an attack on Lakshmanananda sparked violence in Kandhamal district.
"The administration failed to ensure that the churches and Christian institutions were attacked in return. So, this might be an act of revenge for that, given the fact that Lakshmanananda was actively combating forcible conversions in the region," said an observer.
Soon after the attack, the state government and the police laid the blame on Maoists. "They were very quick to do it probably because they wanted to ensure that communal violence does not break out. But eventually they weren't able to do that also," he said.
Maoist-watchers are also not convinced that there could be a Naxal angle to the killings.
"There is nothing that suggests that Maosits may be involved. Though it is soon to say for sure they are not involved, there have not been many incidents where they have attacked civilians. Even in such a case, they would have killed the two home guards who were said to have been on duty at the time of attack," said a Delhi-based security analyst.
"However, whoever executed it had planned it to perfection. It is clear that they have been watching the Swami closely. The assailant also chose dinner time, when two of the guards were not present, on Janmashtmi day, when everyone had their guards down," he said.
Bhubaneswar, Aug 26: At least four persons were killed when members of two communities clashed in Barkhama village under Baliguda Block of Kandhamal district of Odisha on Tuesday afternoon.
According to reliable sources, the clash took places when members of the majority community set some houses and shops of the minority community on fire.
Both the sides used bombs and firearms during the clash, according to sources. The incident took place around 4 pm.
The situation was brought under control by a police party that reached the spot and fired in the air, sources said.
While police recovered two bodies from the spot, two bodies were reportedly taken away by the people involved in the clash.
However, it was not clear whether the four persons killed in the incident were Hindus or Christians.
In the violence that had been triggered by the killing of VHP leader Swami Lakshmanananda on Saturday night, one person was burnt to death in Rupa village in Kandhamal district on Sunday night.
On Monday, a woman inmate of an orphanage was burnt alive in Bargarh district during the VHP-sponsored bandh.
Further, three more persons were killed when their house set on fire in a village in Raikia area of Kandhamal district late on Monday night.
Bhubaneswar (PTI): Seven people were killed, four of them in police firing, in unabated violence in Orissa's Kandhamal district, taking the toll to nine, in the backlash to the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati as curfew was clamped in all major towns of the district.
Four persons persons were killed when the police opened fire to disperse a mob which attacked places of worship, prayer halls and shops at Barakhama in Kandhamal district, Director General of Police Gopal Chandra Nanda said.
Three persons were killed when their houses were torched in Raikia area around midnight on Monday night, official sources said.
Two others, including a woman, were killed when a missionary-run orphanage was set on fire on Monday.
Almost the entire Kandhamal district was placed under indefinite curfew following continued violence. All major towns are under curfew and Rapid Action Force (RAF), CRPF and state police were deployed, Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Southern Division) Satyabrata Sahu told PTI over phone.
Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations in North America
Nun gang raped, one burnt alive, orphanage and churches set on fire again in Orissa
Federation of Indian Christian Organizations in North America is deeply anguished and tormented by the mindless and macabre events taking place against Christians in Orissa. Every religion of the world condemns and prohibits violence of any kind. According to ibnlive.com with inputs from PTI and IANS, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of VHP's central advisory committee, and four other people were killed at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district, 340 km from Bhubaneswar, on Saturday evening after more than 30 suspected Maoist rebels opened fire on them. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) called a statewide bandh (shutdown) to protest against the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. However, activists accompanying body of the slain leader defied curfew and held processions passing through Phulbani town, attacking churches, houses and vehicles of one community, police said. Without any reason, the activists targeted only Christians. Over a dozen churches and prayer halls were torched, police outposts attacked and about 15 vehicles damaged in the communally sensitive Kandhamal district during the bandh. Two churches were damaged in Phulbani town and two police outposts were ransacked near Nuagaon, while churches and prayer halls were attacked in Baliguda, Barkhama, Tikabali and Udaigiri areas.
The most horrifying, horrendous, sickening, and gruesome event against peace-loving Christians was the burning of a 25-year old woman to death and injuring a priest, when activists set fire to an orphanage run by Christian missionaries in a village in Orissa’s Bargarh district on Monday. First reports from Khuntapali village say the suspected Sangh Parivar activists first pulled out children from the orphanage and then set it ablaze at around 4:00pm. The woman, who was a teacher at the orphanage, and the priest were trapped inside. The woman was burnt alive in the blaze however; the priest survived and is now recovering in a hospital. Can this barbaric incident justify civilization from any angle? Is this how Ahimsa (non-violence) is practiced in the land which won its freedom with non-violent means? There are several incidents it the past also, when Hindu extremists in Orissa attacked Christian missionaries. For example, in 1999 an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his two sons were killed by a mob that set their car on fire. There has been an outbreak of violence against Christians since December 2007 when thousands of Christians were beaten, traumatized, houses and churches burnt, and were driven away from their homes. The office of Special Relief Commissioner of Orissa said about 4051 people were affected in the communal violence that began in the last week of December 2007. Hundreds still live in jungles to this day out fear for their lives.
FIACONA condemns the murder, rape and brutal treatment of the Christians in strongest possible terms. The attitude of the current government in Orissa and at the Centre towards such acts against the Christian minority is unacceptable. Indian Government should immediately intervene as there is total failure of law and order on the part of Orissa Government. Heinous crimes of this magnitude cannot be ignored. All these macabre incidents highlight the trauma, the pain, and the helplessness of the Christian community. FIACONA demands immediate dismissal of the state government and imposition of President’s rule to ensure the security and safety of the minority community. “The culprits of such crimes,” Rev. Bernard Malik, the President of FIACONA said “should be arrested and prosecuted immediately”
For the favor of publication
Rev. Bernard Malik 302-354-5452
110 Maryland Ave, NE, Suite# 306 Washington, DC-20002 USA
Posted online: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 1141 hrs IST
Bhubaneswar, August 26:
An indefinite curfew was clamped in Orissa's communally-sensitive Kandhamal district on Tuesday following fresh violence in the wake of the killing of VHP leader in which three persons were killed.
"We have information about death of three persons in Raikia area. The details are being collected," Revenue Divisional Commissioner of Southern Division Satyabrata Sahu said.
"The situation in Kandhamal district is very tense but under control," he added.
The three persons died of asphyxiation after their houses were torched midnight on Monday, police sources said.
With the fresh deaths reported from Raikia, the toll in violence triggered by the gunning down of Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others on Saturday night rose to five, official sources said, adding two persons, one each in Kandhamal and Bargarh were burnt to death on Monday during the 12-hour state-wide bandh.
Indefinite curfew was imposed in almost all parts of the tribal-dominated Kandhamal district including Phulbani, Tumudibandh, Baliguda, Udaygiri, Nuagaon and Tikabali as a precautionary measure and to bring the situation under control, he said.
Rapid Action Force (RAF) personnel were deployed in several sensitive areas of the district while schools, colleges and educational institutions remained closed, he said.
A large number of houses and churches were torched by irate mob in several areas including Nuagaon, Raikia, Udaygiri, Phiringia and Baliguda, police said.
Dr. John Dayal
Member: National Integration Council
Government of India
Secretary General: All India Christian Council (Founded 1999)
President: United Christian Action, Delhi (Founded 1992)
Imm. Past National President: All India Catholic Union (Founded 1919)
505 Link, 18 IP Extension, Delhi 110092 India
Phone: 91-11-22722262 Mobile 09811021072
25 August 2008
TO PRESIDENT OF INDIA
SEEKING ARMY / CENTRAL FORCES INTERVENTION TO PROTECT CHRISTIANS IN
ORISSA AS NUN IS RAPED, PRIESTS INJURED, CHURCHES AND OFFICES BURNT IN
PRESENCE OF POLICE
Hon'ble Mrs., Pratibha Patil
President of India
Greetings from a grieving community.
You are aware of the still continuing carnage against the Christian
community, mostly Dalits and Tribals, in the Kandhamal district of
Orissa and in several other districts including the state capital of
Bhubaneswar since 23rd August 2003 following the killing of Vishwa
Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, reportedly by
Maoist groups who have been operating in the state for some time.
The Christian leadership in the country has unequivocally condemned
the killing of the VHP leader and his four associates.
The Christians of Kandhamal are still nursing their wounds from the
Christmas 2007 violence, with hundreds of them still living in a
refugee camp in Barakhama. Most of the more than One hundred churches
then destroyed remain in ruins, and the burnt houses are still to be
And yet local Sangh leaders have targeted the community in a second
wave of macabre violence.
A nun has been raped in Kandhamal, a Catholic father grievously
injured, scores of houses in villages destroyed, apart from Churches
and institutions. I attach herewith a partial list of the damage in
the violence in the past two days. We in Delhi are overwhelmed with
panic messages from Priests, pastors, nuns and common people who look
to New Delhi for help as the State machinery ahs collapsed once again.
Changing of superintendents of police as a knee jerk reaction does not
provide security to Christians. In fact, much of the violence is
taking place with the insufficient police force looking on. This had
been the case in 2007 December, as has come out in the on going
hearings of the Justice Basudeo Panigrahi Commission. Christian
delegations have informed the State Governor, the State Chief Minister
and the Home Minister of India of the dire situation of our community
Dear Madame President,
This is to request you to use your powers as President of India, and
the tremendous force of your good offices, to impress on the Central
Government to rush adequate Union forces, including contingents of the
Armed Forces if required, to restore law and order and governance in
the Kandhamal region.
The consequences of any further delay, I fear, may be catastrophic for
our Christian community in the State in particular, for peace in
Orissa in general, and for the fair name of India as a secular
God Bless you
1. Incomplete list of death and damage in violence of 23rd-25th August 2008
2. Christian condemnation of killing of Sw. Lakshmanananda Saraswati
ORISSA ANTI CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE UPDATE 25th August 2008
1. CHRISTIAN ORPHANAGE WORKER BURNT ALIVE: A Woman worker of a
Christian orphanage was burnt alive on 25th August 2008 by a group of
Vishwa Hindu Parishad mob which stormed the orphanage she ran in the
district of Bargarh (Orissa). The 45-year-old woman, employed as a
cook was burnt to death on Monday when the school was set on fire by
the mob. The pastor running the school was also injured. Police
Superintendent Ashok Biswall has told news reporters.
2. NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese
working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in
Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of
Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.
3. SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan
Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the
Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre
was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled
state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was
then set afire.
4. BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008
evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very
heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th
and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent
and hostel damaging the properties.
5. The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic
hostel and tonsured their heads.
6. PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of
the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in
Phulbani, the district headquarter town.
7. MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: mobs attacked the Mother
Teresa Brothers' residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once
before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients.
Fundamentalists have targeted Priests, religious and also the Faithful
in Pobingia also.
8. BHUBANESWAR BISHOP'S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August
2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of
Catholic Church and Archbishop's house in the heart of the Capital of
the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police
presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop's House,
9. DUBURI PARISH; Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery
in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged
property. Two priests of the parish are missing.
10. Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and
his property, vehicle etc. damaged, burnt and looted.
11. A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged.
12. Christian institutions like St. Arnold's School (Kalinga Bihar),
AND NISWASS report some damage.
13. BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the
Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to
safer places. But nothing seems safe.
14. Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns' residence have been damaged.
15. Sambalpur HM Sister's residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.
16. Padanpur: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital.
Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.
17. Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.
18. SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various
districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera,
Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada,
Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.
19. VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest
hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia
(G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.
20. KALAHANDI DISTRICT: houses burnt even though the district is more
than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was
21. Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his
house burnt in Bhawanipatna.
22. Kharihar: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das
and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.
23. Aampani: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor
Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their
24. Naktikani: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. The
government has sent forces, it is reported.
[This list is compiled with assistance from Archbishop's House,
Bhubaneswar and other sources]
From John Dayal
25 August 2008
INDIAN CHURCH CONDEMNS KILLING OF ORISSA VHP LEADER
The Church in India has unequivocally condemned the killing of Vishwa
Hindu Parishad [VHP] Orissa leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his
four colleagues in the Tumiliband region of Kandhamal district by Left
wing extremists. Still recovering from the worst ever anti Christian
violence in Indian history in December 2007, Christian organisations
have appealed for peace as the community braces for another round of
violence in the state from Hindutva groups who have sworn to avenge
Saraswati death by attacking Churches, institutions, clergy and nuns.
The following is the text of major statements issued by Church groups
condemning the VHP leaders' death:
ARCHBISHOP RAPHAEL CHEENATH, SVD
Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar
24 August 2008
I, on behalf of the Christians of Orissa, particularly the catholic
Christians, strongly condemn the dastardly attack and violent killing
of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and five of his associates. We the
Christians abhor violence and condemn all acts of violence and
terrorism and are against all groups of people taking the law into
their own hands. We condole the death of Swami Lakshmanananda
Saraswati, a religious leader and his associates. At this critical
juncture I appeal to all for peace and communal harmony. We want good
relationship with all the communities with whom we live.
We are also concerned at the immediate outbreak of communal violence
against innocent Christians in nearby districts. Early reports suggest
that least one prayer hall in Sundergarh District has been burnt and
vehicle belonging to Daughters of the most Precious Blood has been
burnt near G. Udayagiri.
We urgently appeal to the Chief Minister and the Governor of Orissa
and at the Indian Home Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil to take whatever
steps are require to maintain peace and harmony in all areas of
states, to prevent further attacks on Christians and to bring to book
those responsible for the death of Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his
ALL INDIA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL:
Press Statement by Dr John Dayal, Secretary General, and Dr Sampaul,
National Secretary for Public Affairs
The All India Christian Council is deeply concerned at the attack on
an ashram near Tumiliband in Kandhamal District of Orissa last night
in which the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and
four of his associates were killed. This is the latest of a series of
attacks in recent months by political extremists which have left
dozens of policemen and others dead in several districts of Orissa.
We are also concerned at the immediate outbreak of communal violence
against innocent Christians in nearby districts. Early reports suggest
at least one prayer hall in Sundergarh ahs been burnt, the van of some
Catholic Nuns destroyed and the sisters themselves injured.
We urgently appeal to the Chief Minister and the Governor of Orissa
and at the Indian Home Minister Mr. Shivraj Patil to take whatever
steps are require to maintain peace and harmony in all areas of
states, to prevent further attacks on Christians and to bring to book
those responsible for the death of Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his
The Christian community abhors violence, condemns all acts of
terrorism and is against groups of people taking the law into their
own hands. We have had major differences with the dead VHP leader. It
has been the hate campaigns of the VHP and Sangh Parivar which led to
untold misery to Christians in the violence last Christmas. Refugees
from that violence are still living in government camps in Barakhama
under miserable conditions. But we wish peace to everyone.
We pray for peace in Orissa, one of the most undeveloped states in the country,
CATHOLIC BISHOPS CONFERENCE OF INDIA:
The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI) is sad to note that
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and five
others were murdered on Saturday August 23 allegedly by Maoist group
in Kandhamal Dist of Orissa. The Church leaders in Orissa and other
parts of the country have condemned the killing of Swami
Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his associates in the Ashram. We have
also appealed for peace and harmony in the state.
However, we are extremely sorry to find that some organizations have
pointed finger at the Christian community in Orissa for the alleged
murder of the Swami and his associates. Consequently there have been
unprovoked attacks on Christians and their institutions in Kandhamal
and surrounding areas. School at Bhadrak Town, Convent and the
computer centre at Baliguda in Kandhamal Dist, Pastoral Centre at
Baliguda in Kandhamal Dist., Social Development Centre (Jan Vikas
Kendra) at Baliguda in Kandhamal Dist., Catholic Church in Phulbani
and a Convent of the religious women at Phulbani have suffered in the
attacks which took place after the murder of Swami Lakshmanananda
We are sad to note that the extremists are attacking and vandalizing
our institutions without any reason. Incidents of arson and burning of
vehicles belonging to the Church have also been reported at Udaygiri.
Some of our religious nuns, girls and boys in the hostels have fled
from their places and taken shelter in the forest, particularly in
Kandhamal Dist. We are seriously concerned about the safety and
security of our frightened people who are innocent and yet find
themselves in a very precarious situation. The State Government has
deployed police forces in some of the areas and yet the violence has
not been contained. We request the Central Government to urgently
intervene in the matter and send additional forces to bring situation
-- Rev. Dr. Babu Joseph, SVD, Spokesperson, CBCI
EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF INDIA:
Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) denounces the killing of Vishwa
Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and his
four associates by suspected Maoists in Orissa state's Kandhamal
district on August 23. While deeply saddened by the weeklong spate of
attacks that hit Kandhamal district during last Christmas, EFI, as a
representative of the evangelical church in India, stands against
every act of violence and terrorism.
EFI also regrets that vested interests among the various Hindu
nationalist groups are trying to blame local Christians for the act,
as reflected in the acts of vandalism and arson reported from
Kandhamal after the attack on Saraswati ashram.
EFI appeals to the central, state and district authorities to take all
possible measures to maintain peace and calm in Kandhamal. EFI also
calls for the Christian community in India and abroad to pray for
protection of the Christians in Kandhamal and other parts of Orissa.
-- Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
Prashant. A Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace, Ahmedabad,
We condemn the killing of Swami Saraswati and four of his associates
during the attack on the VHP Ashram in the Kandhamal District of
Orissa on Saturday 23rd August 2008. We sympathize with the bereaved
members of the families who have lost their loved ones.
We call upon the Orissa and the Central Governments to do all in their
power to bring to book immediately, those responsible for this
dastardly act; that anti-social elements do not take law and order
into their own hands and above all, to ensure that peace and calm
prevail in the area, and in other parts of Orissa.
Violence, for whatever the provocation, is non-acceptable, and will
definitely not help achieve the goals for which these acts are
committed. We therefore call upon all those responsible for these acts
and to eschew violence immediately. No violence can be justified, for
whatever the reason. However, for the last several months, the
Government of Orissa has allowed some fascist and fundamentalist
forces to terrorize the poor, the marginalized and the minorities of
the State. These forces have carried on their virulent propaganda and
their violent acts with apparent immunity.
There has been a total abdication of responsibility by the Government
of Orissa and the concerned authorities, like the police. They should
now also be held totally responsible for these deaths and for allowing
the situation to go out of control. Sufficient warning has been given
to the Orissa Government, of the deteriorating situation, as early as
in September 2006, with the publication of "Communalism in Orissa" -
the Report of the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human
Rights - headed by Justice K. K. Usha (Retd.) former Chief Justice of
the Kerala High Court. It may still not be too late to ensure that
the Constitutional Rights and Freedoms of the people of Orissa are not
merely guaranteed by also protected by the State.
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj, Director
Hyderabad: Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, has accepted the demand for ordering a comprehensive investigation into the killing of 10 Pastors and also numerous attacks on the Christians by communal groups in the State.
The Chief Minister also ordered a meeting to decide on the measures to be taken to make a thorough enquiry into the murder of Fr Thomas Pandipally on 16 August 2008. The assurances followed a meeting that Archbishop M Joji had held with the Chief Minister on 22 August 2008. The Archbishop had led a 12 member delegation of Catholic leaders. The funeral of Fr Thomas took place at Bellamppalli on 20 August 2008. The funeral service was presided over by Archbishop Abraham Viruthagulangara of Nagpur. Mrs Saramma, the mother of Fr Thomas, came from the United States with his brothers and sisters to take part in the burial.
On 19 August 2008 Archbishop Joji had sent a detailed report of the murder to Rev Pedro Lopez Quintana, the Apostolic Nuncio to India, who took up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs. All the Members of the Hierarchy in India (CBCI) were also sent a copy of the same urging them to devise a plan at the national level to put an end to the atrocities of the extremists.
The Archdiocese of Hyderabad and the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC) sent memoranda to the Prime Minister, the UPA Chairperson and the Home Minister in New Delhi and to the Ministers for Minorities Welfare and the Home Affairs in Andhra Pradesh. The National Commission for Minorities, the AP State Minorities Commission and the AP State Human Rights Commission are being requested to ensure a thorough investigation into the present case and all the killings of Pastors and attacks on Christians in the State.
1) NUN BURNT ALIVE: A nun was burnt to death on 25th, Monday, after an orphanage was torched in at Phutpali in Bargarh district in Orissa during a bandh called by Hindu nationalist parties.Twenty children, who were at the orphanage, managed to escape but a priest suffered serious burn injuries in the attack.
2) RASANANDA PRADHAN TORCHED ALIVE: Another person, Rasananda Pradhan, was burnt to death when his house was set ablaze at Rupa village in Kandhamal district.
3) INFLAMMATORY SPEECHES TARGET CHRISTIANS: During the bandh inflammatory speeches spreading hatred against the Christian workers and the community were given by the VHP leaders. To gain the mass support,the activists have also carried the body of Swamiji throughout the town.
4) CHURCHES BURNT ALL ACROSS ORISSA STATE: Churches were attacked in Khurda, Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Koraput, Boudh, Mayurbhanj, Jagatsinghpur and Kandhamal districts as also in the state capital, police sources said, adding 40 houses were set ablaze in Phulbani town.
5) BUSES AND VEHICLES TORCHED: Mr. Mishra Digal was beaten up, while the motorcycles of Mr. R. K. Digal and Jitendra were burnt. Several buses at Gee Udaigiri in Baliguda were burnt.
6) PULBANI CHURCH RANSACKED: The Church at Phulbani,and several other churches at Phiringia were attacked and ransacked. Pastor D. Tatson's house was vandalized and his property burnt.
7) KAKRIGUMA CHURCHES VANDALISED: Churches in Kakriguma have been targeted by the mob that reportedly damaged the Assembly Of God Church and the Philadelphia Church.
8) WORLD VISION STAFF FLED FOR SAFETY: World Vision India office ransacked and the Staff has also fled to jungle for protection.
9) CHRISTIANS TAKE SHELTER IN FOREST FOR PROTECTION: A police camp at Barakhama was also attacked by the Hindu fundamentalists. With several houses being burnt down and people being made homeless, many Christians,particularly from Nua Sahi, Munda Sahi and Suna Tonga have fled into forests for their lives.
10) NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.
11) SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire.
12) BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties.
13) CHRISTIAN BOYS HEADS TONSURED: The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.
14) PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town.
15) MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: Mobs attacked the Mother Teresa Brothers' residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients.
16) BHUBANESWAR BISHOP'S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishop's house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop's House, damaging windows.
17) DUBURI PARISH: Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing.
18) Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property damaged, vehicle looted and burnt.
19) A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged.
20) Christian institutions like St. Arnold's School (Kalinga Bihar) and NISWASS report some damage.
21) BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe.
22) MUNIGUDA: Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns' residence have been damaged.
23) SAMBALPUR: HM Sister's residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.
24) PADANPUR: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.
25) MADHUPUR: Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.
26) SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.
27) VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.
28) KALAHANDI DISTRICT: Houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed.
29) PASTORS' HOUSE BURNT: Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna.
30) KHARIHAR: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.
31) AAMPANI: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families.
32) NAKTIKANI: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians.
The government has sent forces, it is reported. A delegation of Christian leaders under the leadership of Archbishop Vincent Concessao, the President of National United Christian Forum of CBCI, NCCI and EFI, met the Home Minister Shri Shiv Raj Patil and submitted a memorandum. The Home Minister assured the delegation all necessary steps have been taken to maintain peace and harmony and protect the innocent. He also expressed his helplessness by stating that police protection cannot be given in all villages.
EFI request prayers at this time so that peace and harmony may prevail.
[This list is compiled with assistance from Archbishop's House, Bhubaneswar, John Dayal, Light Foundation and EFI News reporters and other sources]
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Today the Christian community in the state of Orissa has experienced another communal violence by the members of the Sangh Pariwar inspite of precaution taken by the state authorities. The incident occurred during the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) statewide bandh (shutdown) in Orissa to protest against the murder of its leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a member of VHP's central advisory committee, and four other people who were killed at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district in Kandhamal, Orissa by more than 30 suspected Maoist rebels on Saturday.
People resorted to road blockades from Saturday night and continued till this evening. Vehicular movements at various places of the state were affected due to the demonstration of the activists of Bajrangdal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, RSS, Hindu Jagaran Morcha and, supported by the BJP, a ruling coalition partner.
Trains were also detained by the activists at various railway stations and roads were blocked. Meanwhile high alert was sounded in entire state following the assassination of the religious leader and security arrangement was made to safe guarding the place of worship/ churches. However the forces were inadequate and were not able to prevent any kind of un-lawful activities of the activist in the entire state.
Several churches and prayer halls were torched, police outposts were attacked and about 20 vehicles damaged in the communally sensitive state during the bandh. Several educational Institutions , Christian shops and houses were damaged and two police outposts were ransacked . Activists accompanying body of the slain leader defied curfew and held processions passing through Phulbani town, attacking churches, houses and vehicles of one community in the presence of the police. The place of worships were desecrated, women were burnt and raped and Christian priests were subjected to inhuman torture. Christians were burnt alive. Many villagers are now hiding in the forests to save their lives. The Christian institutions have been closed down due to security reason. The law and order situation in the state is completely paralised. If the situation is not handled properly it may mount to an unmanageable magnitude. To address this issue at this juncture it is warranted that, either the CRPF or the Army in adequate strength be deployed to restore the law and order situation. Appended below please find some of the information we have received. Kindly pray for the restoration of peace in the state of Orissa.
Heinous incidents by the erratic mob
Ø 3 numbers of churches are burnt in Dumerguda, Talsara, Sundergarh.
Ø Catholic Church in Phulbani was burnt.
Ø Baptist church in Phulbani was attacked and all furniture was burnt.
Ø Houses (Christians) were attacked in Phulbani.
Ø Pastor's and Asst.Pastor's houses were burnt in Phulbani.
Ø 3 numbers of CNI churches were attacked in Kandhmal.
Ø Church in Koraput was burnt.
Ø Ichhapur Carmel School in Bhadrak was attacked and school buses were broken.
Ø World Vision Office in Bhawanipatna was attacked and the office vehicle was
Ø A family in Bhawanipatna was attacked.
Ø A church in Jeypore was attacked'
Ø Two schools and hostels in Muniguda were attacked and burnt.
Ø The Catholic Church at Satyanagar, Bhubaneswar was attacked.
Ø The CNI church in Chandipali, Bargarh was attacked.
Ø A Pentecostal church in Sambalpur was attacked.
Ø NISWASS and XIM in Bhubaneswar were attacked.
Ø A church and about 20 numbers of houses were burnt and a person named Rasananda Pradhan was killed in Rupagaon, near Chakapada.
Ø Christian houses in Nuasahi, Baliguda were damaged.
Ø In Khuntapali, Padampur an Orphanage (Missionary House) was burnt, Father Edward was burnt, children were burnt and a nun was burnt alive. 22 numbers of inmates are untraceable.
Ø The church and pastor's house in Padampur were burnt.
Ø Church in Sukinda was burnt.
Ø A brothern church in Gosaninuagaon, Berhampur was attacked.
Ø Office of the Compassion East India (NGO) in Bhubaneswar was attacked.
Ø A church in Bhimaguda, Nabarangpur was attacked.
Ø School and hostel in Madupur, Sohela, Bargarh was attacked.
Ø School bus of the De Paul School, Berhampur was burnt.
Ø Mission India Church at Jayadev Vihar, Bhubaneswar was burnt.
Ø William Carey School in Jatni, NH-5 was attacked, 5 numbers of school buses were broken.
Ø Church in Bidanasi, Cuttack was attacked; the cross was broken and is being taken forcefully by the fundamentalists.
Ø A nun named Mina Barua was raped and a Father named Thomas Clave was made naked.
Ø Church in Rayagada was damaged and a Jeep was burnt.
Ø Church in Raikia was burnt.
Bibhu Dutta Das
NUN REPORTED BURNT ALIVE: A Christian woman, possibly a nun, was reported burnt alive on 25th August 2008 by a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad mob which stormed the orphanage she ran in the district of
Bargarh (Orissa). Police Superintendent Ashok Biswall has told this to news reporters. A priest who was at the orphanage was also badly hurt and is now being treated in hospital for multiple burns.
NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.
SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire.
BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties.
The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.
PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town.
MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: mobs attacked the Mother Teresa Brothers’ residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients. Fundamentalists have targeted Priests, religious and also the Faithful in Pobingia also.
BHUBANESWAR BISHOP’S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishop’s house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop’s House, damaging windows.
DUBURI PARISH; Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing.
Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property, vehicle etc. damaged, burnt and looted.
A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged. Christian institutions like St. Arnold’s School (Kalinga Bihar),AND NISWASS report some damage.
BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe.
Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns’ residence have been damaged.
Sambalpur HM Sister’s residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.
Padanpur: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.
Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.
SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.
VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.
KALAHANDI DISTRICT: houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed.
Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna.
Kharihar: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.
Aampani: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families.
Naktikani: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. The government has sent forces, it is reported.
[This list is compiled with assistance from Archbishop’s House,Bhubaneswar and other sources]