Fresh incident of violence in Orissa, India

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Kandhamal District of Orissa witnessed fresh violence against the Christian minority community again on July 8, 2008 six and a half months after the violent attacks of Christmas 2007 which left more than a hundred churches and institutions destroyed and thousands homeless.

The violence which erupted in the afternoon resulted in a Jesuit father’s house, a church and a christian-run orphanage being attacked and partly destroyed today by followers of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati in Tumudiband, Malikpada.

Dr John Dayal, National Integration Council member and human rights activist in a press release stated that there is no report of human casualties though several forest roads are reported blocked and small town bazaars have downed their shutters.

Dr. Dayal was in Balliguda to participate in a human rights meeting when the violence broke out.

The violence seemingly erupted when some Hindu Dalit Panos villagers of Tumudiband who while returning home after killing a cow, were accosted by one Bulu Chauduri or Madhaba Baba (holy man) and his followers.

Enraged by their act, Madhaba Baba apparently informed Lakhsmanananda who immediately rushed to the spot, where he conducted a meeting in protest. However, the anger was vented on the local Christian community.

Speaking to EFI, the Superintendent of Police (SP) said, “The situation is now under control. While the hooligans had attempted to enter the premises of Christians, they were prevented from doing so.”

He informed EFI that three CRPF battalions have been stationed in the area to ensure no untoward incident takes place. The police were also guarding many of the major churches which had been burnt in December 2007 by VHP and RSS hordes. The SP confirmed that no persons had been injured in the violence.

EFI requests prayers for the safety and protection of the Christians in the violence affected area.

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.