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2014-04-30

ASIA/INDIA - Intimidation and abuse of Christians in Orissa: homes destroyed, faithful thrown out

Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) – The Christians who survived the violence in 2008 cannot find peace and are still today victims of abuse and intimidation: this is what was said by Fr. Ajay Kumar Singh, a Catholic priest in Orissa, a human rights activist and winner of an award for his work among the victims of the pogroms which occurred in 2008 in the district of Kandhamal in Orissa. According to what Fr. Singh said, in past days the police arrested and then released three people accused of having destroyed the home of a Christian family who survived the massacres of 2008.
Praful Digal, a Catholic of the village of Budruka, had rebuilt his home thanks to the aid received by the government as funds for the reconstruction. The radical Hindu groups did not tolerate it: they attacked the new house, razed it to the ground, as confirmed by Fr. Pradosh Kumar Nayak, Rector of the Minor Seminary of St. Paul in Balliguda near the village of Budruka.
In past days, following a complaint filed by the family, the police arrested Sudershan Mallick, Pabitra Mallick and Mallick Nageswar, but the three were inexplicably released.
As noted by Fr. Nayak, this is the third house that the Digal family had built over the past six years, but Hindu radicals demolished all of them. "The last demolition shows that these groups are strong and determined to keep Christians out of the country", notes Fr. Nayak, adding: "Christians continue to lead a terrible life in Kandhamal district", where abuse and discrimination do not cease.
The Digal family was among the 834 whose house was destroyed in the first round of anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal which took place in December 2007. The family took courage, returned to the village and rebuilt the house, which was again destroyed in the violence in August 2008. After years of exile, in recent months and after having received compensation from the government, the Digal had decided to return to the village of origin and start a normal life again. But a new attack shattered their hopes. Ajay Kumar Singh said to Fides: "The State has failed to protect and guarantee the basic rights to Christian citizens in Orissa". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 30/04/2014)

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