CGAI Report of Attack at Kalahandi, Orissa

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Following is a report sent to us by Vasanthraj Albert, a coordinator of Church Growth Association of India (CGAI).

As you all know Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, a Hindu extremist religious leader with four of his workers were gunned down by some miscreants (government says Maoists) on the 24th September 2008. Their purpose and identity is unknown. Hindu extremist organizations of the BJP have squarely put the blame on Christians (As Nero put the blame on Christians for burning of ancient Rome in the 1st century A.D.). They have vowed to take revenge and the whole outfit had planned systematic extermination of the Christian population and organizations, churches etc.

Some representations of the Hindu outfit visited the Day Care Centre (DCC) run by some pastors at Bamnichatra village and warned them of dire consequences if they preach Christ to the Dom, Purja and Pike people group living in Budhianjal area and close down all their activities.

The Church Growth Association of India (CGAI) had visited the Budhianjal area about a year back. These are the facts we found out about the populace. Government decided to construct a dam on the Indrawati River to irrigate the parched lands of Orissa. But when they started constructing they knew that the Budhianjal area could be flooded and would become unfit for human habitation. So they gave some compensation for all the people who live there. The people on getting the dole moved to town areas. Being dalits and tribals who they had spent all the money in a few years. They had lived a fish-out of water experience and when they ran out of the money they decided to come back to their villages in Budhianjal. But now it was flooded due to the dam. But they found places to live in small hillocks which are standing amidst water and built about 500 villages in and around hilly terrain. They lived there eking out a living by sowing ragi. They raised some pigs and cattle too. Since the area according to government does not exist there were no roads, electricity transport etc. The people managed to build some boats to travel from one village to another. To get provisions, salt or basic medicines they had to travel 40km by boats and on foot. Their children had lost all the joy of childhood but assisted their families by taking up chores. The pujaries (Hindu priests) had entered the scene and demanded arrange costly pujas to the spirits they served. On getting a loan most of the people become slaves to moneylender, the pujaries and the spirits.

Having a school building without a teacher and another school within 16 Kms of reach, according to the decision of the local people we started a Day Care Centre-cum-tuition centre at Bamnichatra on August 1, 2008. This was run by a local pastor Rev. Urio and his team of 10 pastors. By using local help we built a shed to house 40 – 60 children. Some local people helped to teach them basic learning. Since the children must be fed with some breakfast and lunch. But we got 100+ children showing interest in attending the DCC from the 1st week of August’08. This was running for the glory of God. The children for the first time in their lives have seen what a school is and realised what is love and affection outside of home.

On the 7th September 2008 a group of 200 strong outsiders had entered the villages of Bhudainjal and stopped the worship service at 10 AM. They threatened the believers to run away. They got the two volunteers and they took a procession. They were brutally kicked on the way by many people. When a wife of another volunteer tried to save one of them she was brutally kicked and now she is admitted in the Kathiguda government hospital for treatment. The sad thing is she is three months pregnant. At the panachayat of local Hindus they were asked why suddenly within 6 month 600-800 people were baptized. Then they lodged a complaint then they let the volunteers flee.

Then around 1 Pm in the noon the same miscreants group marched towards the DCC and looted provisions which were kept for the children valued at about Rs10000/- were looted and taken away to the many tents which the militants had put in and around the villages. They then torched the hut put up for the DCC which was burned to the ground. They had destroyed partly the home of one local woman who is helping in teaching the children. They have threatened her that they are leaving her without any physical harm because she is a lady but if she continues to do this work of teaching the kids they may harm her physically too.

All the pastors about 10 in numbers had fled the scene using fishing boats. The miscreants have also threatened the villagers not to give any police complaint (which is practically impossible, since they have to travel 80 Kms to give a complaint). The miscreants have warned that if they dare to give to a police complaint then they will be charred to death. Terrorized new believers are still in hide-outs longing for safety, peace, and food.

As of now Sadhananda Bhatra, Laxman Nayak are assaulted along with Chinnamani Nayak, the three months pregnant lady who is admitted in Kathiguda Government Hospital. Around 600 believers houses are damaged in this senseless attack. The day care center remained completely broken and burnt. The House of Vijayalakshmi, a local teacher, also sustain damages. In the name of God, the provisions for the entire month for the 70 children worth INR 10,000 are looted.

EFI requests your prayers for the Christians in Orissa who, because of Government inaction against the miscreants, continue to suffer.

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India

Room No. 152,
South Block,
New Delhi, 110001
(O) Tel : +91-11-23012312
(O) Fax: +91-11-23016857
Smt. Pratibha Patil

Hon'ble President of India

Rashtrapati Bhavan
New Delhi, 110001
(O) Tel: +91-11-23017290
(O) Fax: +91-11-23017824

Email: [email protected]

Shri Navin Patnaik
Chief Minister of Orissa

Naveen Nivas,
Aerodrome Road,
Pin-751001 (Orissa)
(O) Tel: +91-0674-2531100, 2535100, 2531500
(O) Fax: +91-0674-2400100
(R) Tel: +91-0674-2590299, 2591099,2590844,2591100,2590833

Email:[email protected]

Shri Amarananda Pattanayak, IPS
Director General of Police
(O) Tel: +91-0671-2304451, 2306501
(O) Fax: +91-0671-2304033

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell

General Secretary
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