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