28 September, 2008: EFI correspondent Rev. Hrudaya reports: Today nearly 80 Christian leaders from Orissa had a closed door meeting with Mr Tara Dutta Sharma, schedule caste/ schedule tribe and Other Backward Caste commissioner at Phulbani, Kandhamal.
The commissioner informed the delegation that nearly 800 people have been arrested in Kandhamal district. The delegation expressed concern for Christians still living in forests fearing for their life and the pathetic condition of those living in relief camps.
The delegation demanded that Christian agencies be immediately allowed to begin unhindered relief operations; that permanent Peace Coordination Committee should be formed at the district and village level; that Special Courts be establish to address various issues specific to Kandhamal.
The delegation promised full cooperation to government and demanded that government take firm and necessary action to provide security to people.
Attack on Christians worries President of CBCI:
Kochi: Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI) President, Major Archbishop Cardinal Mar Varkey Vithayathil, Syro Malabar Church, has expressed concern over the "increasing attacks on the minority Christians".
Speaking to reporters at Akaparambu at nearby Nedumbassery, where two churches were attacked last week and a statue of Jesus Christ damaged, he expressed dissatisfaction over the delay in booking the culprits responsible for the attack. Political motive is behind the attacks on Christians, he charged. "Christians are not a vote bank. That is the reason why there is delay in nabbing the culprits indulging in attacks on Christians," he said.
3rd Day sit-in Dharna:
Hundreds of Christians flocked to the sit-in Dharna at Jantar Mantar New Delhi, after their worship services.
Much time was spent in prayer and reflecting from the message of the Bible.
While the Christian response of forgiveness was emphasized, the need for justice was equally emphasized.Various civil society leaders who spoke condemned the inaction of the government of Orissa in booking the culprits.
THE TOLL - ANTI-CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE
24 August – 29 September, 2008
1. Districts hit - 14
2. Villages destroyed - 300
3. Houses burnt - 4,300
4. Homeless - 50,000
5. People murdered - 57
6. Fathers, Pastors/Nuns injured - 10
7. Women gang-raped - 2
8. Men, women, children injured - 18,000 (injuries suffered during attack, flight and in forest)
9. Schools, colleges destroyed - 13
1. Districts - 4
2. Churches attacked - 19
3. Nuns Women injured - 20
Churches damaged - 4
Churches damaged - 4
Churches destroyed - 1
Attempts made - 4
Church attacked - 1
2 murdered – aged priest and employee
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