Forceful Reconversions Carries on in Orissa

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Hindu mobs led by fundamentalists are roaming in the whole of Kandhamal district & threatening the Christians to reconvert or else face death. Yesterday 5 families were forcefully reconverted, against their will, to Hinduism in Adaskupa in Kandhamal.

Working on a Public Interest Litigation filed by Cuttack Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, seeking a CBI probe into the recent incidents of violence in Orissa, the Supreme Court directed the State Government of Orissa to inform if any permission had been granted to Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) leader Praveen Togodia for his proposed yatra that is scheduled on September 6, in Bhubneshwar, carrying the ashes of slain leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.

Archbishop’s counsel Colin Gonsalves requested the court to intervene to stop Togadia's yatra, asserting it would foment more trouble in the area, which is already tense. He alleged that the state Government and its police force were not cooperating and assisting the central paramilitary forces, including the Rapid Action Force and CRPF, which was clear from the reported statement of the Commandant of the CRPF.

The Court further directed the Orissa Government to place a report of steps taken to protect lives of people in riot-hit Kandhamal district. "The court wanted to know what the state government was doing to protect the lives of people belonging to the Christian community," the court official said.

The religious fanaticism, which started on the night of August 23, has drawn strong condemnation from the international community.

In a letter sent to the Bishop Joel Mal, Moderator of North India, The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, called for an end to the violence and urged Christians elsewhere to show their support for the Christian community in Orissa.

"I hope that Christians and people of faith around the world will make known their horror at this violence, their support for the rebuilding of lives and the churches, orphanages and schools destroyed, and for work towards future reconciliation," he said.

Pope Benedict also condemned spiralling violence against Christians in Orissa.

Expressing his profound sadness he said "While I firmly condemn every attack on human life, whose sacredness required respect by all, I express my spiritual closeness and solidarity to the brothers and sisters in the faith who are so sorely tried."

EFI has compiled a comprehensive list of database with assistance from Archbishop's House Bhubaneswar, John Dayal, Christian Legal Association, Light Foundation and EFI News reporters and other sources, which can be found at Orissa Christian Persecution Fact Finding Report.

In the wake of this detailed information EFI solicits your letters, emails, faxes and phone calls to the State and Central officials, whose details are provided below.

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