Victims narrate horror Stories, Peace March on Gandhi’s Birthday, Civil Society supports Christians
EFI Correspondent B.D. Das, Advocate-Orissa High Court reports: The situation in Kandhamal is getting worse again. On September 30, 2008 nearly 300 houses and 3 churches were burnt by the mob of 3000 from RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal from 7 Panchayats. The attack took place in the presence of police. Victims who sustained injury at village- Hrundangia, Telengia and Gadagura of G. Udayagiri, Kandhamal are admitted at MKCG Medical College and Hospital Berhampur. One woman later succumbed to injuries.
On October 1, 2008 the writ petition filed by Utkal Christian Council with the support of Light Foundation in connection with Orissa violence was heard in the Orissa High Court.
EU Condemns Violence in Orissa: On Monday the European Union in Marseille ticked off Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for his government's failure to prevent what it called a 'massacre' of Christians in Orissa and Karnataka. This strongly-worded description of the violence in Kandhamal and the Bajrang Dal's destruction of churches in Karnataka came during the India-EU summit here.
The issue was taken up strongly with Singh by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also the head of the European Council, and Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission. Talking to reporters, Sarkozy strongly dismissed the suggestion that the 'massacre' could be equated with the discrimination Sikhs allegedly face in France. Although Sarkozy said he admired Singh's condemnation of the anti-Christian violence as a 'national shame' and his promise to guarantee the religious rights of minority communities in India, the two sides clearly differed on the scale of the violence against Christians in India.
In his reply, the PM said there were 'some sporadic incidents' though he declared the determination of the state to ensure that minority communities exercise their constitutional right to profess and propagate their respective faiths. He listed the measures taken by the Centre — advisories to Karnataka and Orissa and deployment of its forces — to emphasize the intent of his government to put an end to violence against Christians allegedly by Bajrang Dal and VHP.
Sarkozy and Barrosso later expressed satisfaction with Singh's assurances.
Dainik Bhaskar Raipur edition reports: 9 people injured in a fresh round of pre-dawn violence that took place in Rudnagia block under G Udaygiri, around 65kms from Kandhamal on Tuesday, September 30, 2008. Two people received life threatening injuries reported Collector of Kandhamal, Krishna Kumar. Further news is awaited.
Orissa Victims narrate their horror stories: EFI Correspondents Poonam and Aashima Samuel visited the victims of Orissa violence currently in Delhi to protest against the on going manslaughter carried on to their family members and fellow brethren.
Around 70 victims from Baliguda, YMCA Bhubaneshwar and Tikabali relief camps came to Delhi on Monday to support the ongoing protest by the Christian community against Orissa violence. They all have tales of horror, and nightmares that may take years to forget.
Paul Nayak born in a Christian family told his story, “I was 4 kms away from my house when the mob came and killed my brother Gopan Nayak. We all fled to the jungles and were there without food and water for 3 days. Gopan’s wife complained to the police but it did nothing. They killed and burnt and then in heineous display took away his body part. The venom spilling attackers were shouting “isai jao; London jao” (Christians go; Go to London)”. At this his eyes flooded with tears.
Pastor Premanad Nayak of Bakingia, Kandhamal ministering in CNI Church in his village said, “The mob came with weapons shouting Jai Bajrang bali (Hail Hanuman) and using abusive language cursing Christians villagers. They burnt 2 CNI churches, 1 RC church and 1 Independent Pentecostal church. We all ran to the jungle. But Pastor Samuel Nayak was not that fortunate. They caught him and killed him in front of his wife. They also set his mother on fire.”
The deceased pastor’s wife went to Raikia police station. The police did not register her complaint but the only thing police did was to visit the spot and took away the skull of burnt mother. The pastor and his family are born Christians and not some Hindu converts.
Thirty four year old Pastor Suresh Digal from Jargi Vilage Balliguda accepted Christ 16 years ago. Like others his mind was poisoned against Christians and Christianity but after listening to a radio programme he choose to follow Christ.
Speaking to our correspondent he narrated his saga, “We were in jungles for many days without food and water. Somehow we survived. Local police wanted to help us out but since no orders were issued from the state Government and the top brass, the policemen expressed their helplessness.”
Peace March organized on Gandhi’s birthday on October 2 in Delhi: Demanding a ban on the Religion Terror Groups A Peace March is organized on Gandhi Jayanti, on October 2, 2008 by Civil Society Group of all Religions. The Peace March which will start at 2pm at Jantar Mantar, in the heart of Delhi will culminate at Raj Ghat, the burial place of Mahatma Gandhi.
EFI requests its readers who are in Delhi to be a part of this event.
Dharna in New Delhi: More and more prominent personalities joining the dharna at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi. Today is the 5th day of protest participated by the likes of Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, a noted film maker, Mr. M.S. Bitta from Anti Terrorist Front and Abraham Mathai of Maharashtra Minority Commission who raised their voice against the Central and State Govt. inability to tackle the out of control situation. They all stand in support of the sit in dharna and promised to stand with the Christian community already suffering from extreme atrocities.
All India Democratic Women’s Association protests: Thee All-India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) has come in strongly against the ‘failure’ of the Orissa police to arrest Sangh Parivar cadres accused of brutally gang raping a young nun on August 25 at K. Nuagaon in Kandhamal. In a statement issued in New Delhi, AIDWA condemned the State Governments ability to nab the culprits despite the complain being launched on the same day.
The assault was carried out in full public view, right in front of a police outpost with 12 policemen.
The support extened by the State apparatus in Orisa and in Karnataka in the spread of this venom is an extremely disturbing development, the statement read.
EFI Correspondent Rev. Edgar reports from Chhattisgarh: The raging wave of violence against Christian community in various BJP ruled states of the country has struck Chhattisgarh state.
The violence, which occurred at village Narli of Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh started when a local Christian woman Somali(55) passed away. The local villagers instigated by the communal outfits created dispute over the burial rites of the body. To end the deadlock a local believer, the son-in-law of the diseased woman offered a place in his field for the burial.
On the morning of 26th September while the believers were returning from the burial service at about 9 AM, they were attacked by the villagers. 35 believers were injured in the attack.
House of Shanti (Peace), which was the local place of worship was also later found damaged. Three persons were missing after this sudden attack. Two of them were later found in wounded condition in the woods whereas one person, Bhima is still repotedly missing.
Motorbike of local Christian Raju Karma was completely damaged in the attack. Raju Karma(M) and Bode(F) have been admitted in the local hospital in Jagadalpur and their condition is slated to be serious.
After the intervention of Chhattisgarh Christin Forum a Complaint has been registered by the Bhansi police station. No arrest has been reported so far.
Dantewada is most naxalite affected district in the country. Christian presence is weak and dispersed.
Evangelical Fellowship of India seeks prayers when the state Government is failing yet again to safeguard the Christians. Their promises falling like a pack of cards. EFI also requests prayers for various civil rights agencies that are working to provide justice to the Christians in Orissa by way of judiaciary.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India