EFI has learnt of attacks on numerous Christian homes and institutions in the wake of the attack on Swami Lakminanda Sarawati’s ashram which resulted in his death on August 23.
In a report received from Bishop Juria Bardhan, of the Believers Church in Orissa on August 24 in the morning, one of the pastors Jeebaratna Lima from Khurda district while going to conduct the Sunday service was attacked by a mob and they were almost setting fire on him after spraying petrol. He was saved on account of the timely arrival of police. He is presently in police custody.
In another incident, pastor Bahumulya Paik of Believers Church (Bamunidei, PS.Patpur, Ganjam district) was attacked on August 24 by a mob of about 100 people. Believing him to be dead, the mob moved on the attack other Christian homes, however the pastor managed to escape once he regained consciousness. He is however not been able to receive adequate medial treatment as the curfew has been imposed in the area and roads have been closed or blocked.
There are reports of other Christian who have fled to nearby forests. Pastor Bishnu Kumbhar and his pregnant wife ran into forest in the darkness being chased by a group of people and now have taken shelter in one family in a neighbouring village.
At about 9:00 pm on August 24, a mob destroyed one of the Believers Churches at Tengada Pathar in Phulbani by hurling bombs and set fire on the houses of the local believers. About 30 Christian families have sought shelter in the forests.
We have about 30 Christian families in this village. All the Christians have run to the jungle along with Pastor Aluo Jena and hiding there. Several women who were earlier belived to be missing are hiding in the jungle without and food and water and proper shelter.
Reports of churches and Christian homes being attacked are coming from across Orissa. According to reports received on a Believers Church in Chandrasekharpur, Bhubaneswar was attacked and broken down on the morning of August 25.
Four Christian houses are believed to have been burnt in Kanjmandi, Nuagam PS. Baliguda, Kandhamal district. Local Christians along with Pastor Lebiyo Rait have escaped into the forest. Pastor Amit Pani, from Ambapani, Kalahandi was rescued from a violent mob as it attempted to stormed his house. He is currently under police protection.
While police protection has been provided to some Christian institutions, it is grossly inadequate and helpless in the face of the violent mobs.
Evangelical Fellowship of India appeals for calm in Orissa and urges the central and state government to protect the Christian minority community.
EFI also requests Christians across the globe to pray for Christians in Orissa, especially for those who have been affected by the ongoing violence.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India
Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations