ASIA/INDIA - Sharing hope and justice: meeting with the survivors of the anti-Christian massacres in Orissa

Tuesday, 9 February 2016 persecutions   local churches   hinduism   religious minorities  

Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) - On 9 February, the first meeting among the survivors of anti-Christian massacres that occurred in 2008 in Kandhamal district in the Indian state of Orissa will be held. As reported to Fides, the meeting of about 100 survivors of the violence, sponsored by the Catholic diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, takes place in the Pastoral Center in Konjamendi, in Kandhamal district.
"This is a unique opportunity, where survivors come together for the first time to share their struggle for justice and dignity. The meeting aims to give hope and to build solidarity among survivors, who have lost their loved ones", explains to Fides Father Ajay Singh, a priest and activist for human rights who works among the victims of anti-Christian violence, and coordinates the social work of the local Church.
"There are parents who lost their children; children who lost parents; husbands who lost their wives; wives who lost their husbands; people who lost all their possessions and their whole life is upset" adds Father Singh.
"We hope to build communion among the survivors, while the system of criminal justice is disastrous. Relatives of the victims live trials in court with great fear, because the accused could intimidate witnesses. We hope that the stories of these survivors, stories of hope, of faith and struggle of justice, can be heard by the Indian Bishops' Conference", notes the priest.
Kandhamal district in eastern Orissa, was the scene of the worst anti-Christian violence in the history of modern India. The violence, which lasted nearly four months, caused the death of 90 deaths and 50,000 displaced people fled their homes and villages. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides 09/02/2016)