by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - A Christian man in Odisha State, India, who built a school for orphaned children 8 years ago, had his life’s work devastated on May 13th when local officials demolished the school and its dormitories following sabotage of his application for a land lease.
Vijay Kumar Pusuru and the 12 fatherless children to whom he became a surrogate father were left homeless when Pusuru’s own home and the school’s dormitories, which housed 100 children bereft of fathers and parents from the wars between Naxalite Indian communists and the Indian government, were wrecked by 50 state personnel despite the tearful protestations of Pusuru and his parents.
“I wept and begged the officer-in-charge," Pusuru told Morning Star News. “When we protested peacefully, they beat us.”
Pusuru, his family, and the 12 orphans spent over a week living under the trees, receiving meals from a local Indian army officer and practicing Hindu sympathetic to the Christian's work, who said the school had been a blessing to the community.
“The entire village favors me and recognizes my work,” Pusuru said, citing grain donations from the village chief and a 35,000-rupee gift bequeathed to the school by the same army commandant.
Pusuru related to Morning Star News that things turned sour when the leader of the local chapter of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), an extremist militant group loosely associated with Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), petitioned the state to proscribe the school for its practice of Christian prayer in the morning assembly.
Militant Hindu forces have gained ground in India in recent weeks with the reelection of Narendra Modi to another five-year term last month, which ruling party many see as the engine behind India’s rise from 31st to 10th on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List for Christian persecution since 2013.