Christian Community Again Attacked In India's Orissa State

Thursday, July 10, 2008

By BosNewsLife Special Correspondent, BosNewsLife Asia Service

KANDHAMAL, INDIA (BosNewsLife) -- Christian orphans were without shelter Wednesday July 9, as Hindu militants attacked their orphanage, a Jesuit Residence and a nearby Christian village in the troubled state of Orissa, where believers are still recovering from recent anti-Christian violence, BosNewsLife established.

Hindu militants attacked, "The Christian community in the district of Kandhamal," said Raphael Cheenath, the archbishop of Orissa's Cuttack-Bhubaneswar region. He added the militants included followers of the group Sangh Parivar, which seeks to create a Hindu theocratic country.

Witnesses said Christian orphans were walking anxiously near a road in the area of Malipada village where the troubles began Tuesday, July 8, after the killing of a cow by 'lower caste' Hindus. The militants apparently accused the Christians of instigating slaughtering the cow, seen by many Indian Hindus as a holy animal.

There were no immediate reports of injuries, but there was widespread devastation, witnesses said.

On the way to the village, militants attacked the Jesuit Residence in the nearby area of Tumudibandho, destroying the gate, statues of the Mary and St. Ignatius, as well as furniture, doors and windows, witnesses said. Three living rooms were reportedly looted. They also attacked the Bhagvan Ashram, an orphanage run by a Christian, identified only as Mr. Satpati, Christians said. Children were reportedly walking on the main road, away from the violence.


The attacks came over six month after several people were killed in major ant-Christian violence in December that saw the destruction of hundreds of homes and churches. Christians said the main suspects responsible for last years' violence have not been detained, and are again involved in a new round of attacks.

"A sense of panic has gripped various parts of Kandhamal district," witnesses said. Sangh Parivar followers were seen blocking the roads by felling forest trees and called for a major meeting in Kandhamal district later Wednesday, July 9.

Orissa has a history of religious violence. It also made world headlines in 1999 when Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines and his two young sons were burnt to death by an angry mob sleeping a station wagon at Manoharpur village in the state's Keonjhar District. (BosNewsLife Asia Service is made possible by BosNewsLife Special Correspondents reporting from the region, in often difficult circumstances. Their names are not always revealed due to security concerns).

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