By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
NEW DELHI (Worthy News) - Several Christian families in India’s eastern state of Odisha are still homeless and “in dire need of groceries” after Hindu extremists attacked them, several sources told Worthy News.
Pastor Bijoy Parusu reportedly said the “houses of three Christian families were destroyed” and believers were “beaten up mercilessly” in Ejariguda village in Odisha’s Malkangiri District on Easter Sunday.
Several people required medical attention, including one man who was injured in the forehead, according to Christians familiar with the situation, while several
“I advised him to file [a ‘first information report’] FIR in the police station immediately,” said local Bishop P. R. Parichha, referring to the criminal complaint procedure in India.
“Pastor Bijoy and the victims filed the FIR in the Malkangiri police station against 20 culprits,” added the bishop who leads the Odisha branch of the All India Christian Council (AICC).
The AICC, a nationwide alliance of Christian denominations, mission agencies, and Christian leaders, closely follow that case, the bishop suggested. He stressed that “all victims were taken to the government hospital for medical check-ups and treatment.”
Though “one man was injured in the forehead,” no arrests were made, he noted.
There was no immediate comment from local authorities. “Now the victims are in dire need of groceries and to rebuild their houses. They have no place to lay their heads as all the houses were destroyed and no roof on their head. Their condition is pathetic,” Bishop Parichha stressed.
It comes amid broader concerns among advocacy groups and church leaders about attacks against minority Christians in areas across Hindu-majority India, including Odisha. “It is observed that the Hindu nationalist groups are very active in Malkangiri district. Several persecution incidents have taken place in Malkangiri district in the past years,” the bishop said. “I have handled at least five cases of persecution in the past five years,” Parichha explained, adding that he approached several government officials and authorities.
“In 2020, one minor boy studying in class seven was murdered because his father is the lay leader of the congregation of the village. I did send my representation to the Chief Minister of Odisha. As a result, six people were arrested and forwarded to jail,” the bishop recalled. However, “Now the case is pending in the district court of law.”
In recent months two more incidents were reported in Odisha’s Keonjhar and Kandhamal districts, he recalled. “In all persecution cases, police action is very slow, and they are reluctant to arrest the culprits. In Kandhamal, one Christian house was set on fire, and three families were driven out of the village.” The bishop confirmed that the “victims are taking shelter in a nearby village” and that the “Kandhamal case has been filed in the Odisha High Court.”
He has urged Christians to pray “for the persecuted victims” and help with “groceries and rebuilding of houses.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under pressure to halt the growing anti-Christian violence in Indian states such as Odisha.
Christian advocacy group Open Doors said the persecution faced by India’s nearly 69 million minority Christians “is intensifying.”
The well-informed group noted that “Hindu extremists” aim to cleanse the country of nearly 1.4 billion people of the Christian presence and influence.
The driving force behind this is Hindutva, an ideology that “disregards Indian Christians and other religious minorities as true Indians,” Open Doors and other sources said.
Hindu nationalist extremists reportedly say that Christians and other non-Hindus have allegiances outside India and that the country should be “purified” of their presence.