India: Churches Continue to Burn in Orissa

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Churches continue to burn in Orissa inspite of curfew being imposed in different places, we receive many phone calls about the violence which is given below:

• Situation in Barkhama village of Baliguda block is alarming. The fundamentalist group ransacked the village, broke two churches and looted the properties of the poor villagers and torched the houses of the new believers. The force was so tremendous that all the villages including women and children had to flee from the village to save their lives and now hiding themselves in the forest. Latest information received from the Bishop of Phulbani reveals that three dead bodies of Christians are lying un-attended. This has not been carried in any of the newspapers so far.

• Many Christian NGOs, Institutions including the homes and hostels have been attacked and looted. Mostly these institutions are Catholic run institutions. Due to blockage of road by the activists, neither the media person, nor the Church leaders are able to reach at the spot. There could be much more information from rural churches, which has not reached us so far, due to communication obstructions.

• So far 23 churches have been damaged as per the report received till 12 Noon. The damage caused on 26 th December' 07 are to the following 9 churches:

A) Barkhuma Area of Baliguda Block – 2 Churches
B) Rutungia Area of Baliguda Block - 4 Churches
C) Dolgaon Area of Baliguda Block – 1 Church
D) Irpiguda Area of Baliguda Block – 1 Church
E) Kalinga Area of Udayagiri Block – 1 Church

The Arch Bishop of Catholic Dioceses of Orissa, Bishop of Diocese of Cuttack, and all other Church leaders have been trying frantically to take an appointment from the Chief Minister to discuss about the situation. However the CM's office have deliberately failed so far to fix up a date and time with the CM for a discussion of Orissa Church leaders.

However the situation in Udaygiri is coming towards normalcy.

All Church leaders of Orissa, had a meeting in the office of the Arch Bishop of Catholic Dioceses of Orissa at Bhubaneswar, today at 10:00 a.m. It has been decided that steps be taken to meet the C.M to ventilate the grievances. A fresh memorandum has been drafted with the following demands:

A) Initiation of a C.B.I enquiry into the incident.
B) Central Police Forces must be deployed immediately as the local police has failed to prevent the communal riot inspite of getting early information.
C) Proper assessments be made for the loss of property and lives of the victims of the Christian community in the affected area and proper compensation be paid to them as early as possible.
D) Exemplary action to be taken against the Government officials, for their lapses, negligence and in action to prevent and control such situation.
E) A fact finding committee consisting of Church leaders will visit the violence sites in order to bring peace in the locality and also to take a stack of the situation.

We request all of you to uphold the situation in your prayer and especially for the women and children, who are taking shelter in Jungles without food.

In Delhi a Peace Dharna is organised from 4 to 6 p.m at Orissa Bhavan.

Please pray for Orissa and intervene to bring normalcy.

Please write or fax to the below mentioned addresses to express your concern:


President of India
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi - 110 004
Fax : +91-011-23017290/ 011-23017824

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India

Room No 152, South Block,
New Delhi - 110 001
Ph: +91-011-23012312/ 011-23013149/ 011-23019545
Fax: +91-011-23018939

Shri Navin Patnaik
Chief Minister of Orissa

Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road,
P.O. Bhubaneswar
Distt. Khurda, Pin - 751 001 (Orissa)
E-mail [email protected]
Office Phone 0674-2531100/2535100/2531500
Office Fax: 0674-2400100

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