Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) - The "Day of Remembrance" which will commemorate the victims of anti-Christian massacres that occurred in the district of Khandamal in 2008 will be held today, August 31, in Orissa. As reported to Fides by local Church sources, the celebration will see the participation of the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, His Exc. Mgr. John Barwa SVD, many priests and members of the local Church, intellectuals and activists, civil authorities and leaders of social organizations who have also come from other states of the Federation. Explaining the spirit of the Day, the Archbishop remarked that "we gather in prayer for the victims, reiterating, all together, our common commitment to promoting peace, justice and hope. The faith of Christians in Orissa has become stronger in the face of persecution".
Seven years ago, in August 2008, about a hundred Christians were killed by a mob of Hindu extremists who asked them to convert. About 300 churches and 6,000 Christian homes were looted, making 56,000 Christians homeless.
The commemoration of the victims for what is called "a dark page in the history of Indian democracy" was held in Bangalore, in Karnataka state, on August 29.
The purpose of the event, said a statement, is "to express solidarity with the victims of violence in Kandhamal, involving people of all social classes, religion, sex and nationality, to instill a ray of hope".
"The celebration is an opportunity to reflect on the theme of growing intolerance orchestrated by Hindu extremist groups across the country, and how these ideas have infiltrated the government, police and courts, eroding the values of justice, equality, secularism and citizenship enshrined by the Constitution of India", says to Fides Jagadish G Chandra, an activist for human rights.
Violence in Kandhamal is "a matter of justice, as only 2 of the 27 murder trials have been concluded, and only three thousand, out of 11,300 people denounced have been conducted in court" concludes Chandra. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides 31/08/2015)