ASIA/INDIA - Justice for Christians massacred in Orissa

Thursday, 25 August 2016 religious minorities   religious freedom   displaced persons   violence   hinduism   persecutions   martyrs  

Orissa Church

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - Eight years after the anti-Christian massacres that shook the Indian state of Orissa, on August 25, 2008, the victims have not yet obtained justice: as John Dayal, an Indian Catholic intellectual, former national president of the "All India Catholic Union" noted to Fides, "the recent death of Emeritus Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, pastor in Orissa, coincides with the days when we remember the biggest martyrdom of a group of Christians in India". The Indian Catholic Church, on its behalf, already last year celebrated on August 30 the "Day of Martyrs" and intends to initiate the cause of beatification to recognize the martyrdom of the victims.
"In a wave of targeted violence against Dalits and tribal communities in Kandhamal district, Hindu fundamentalist militants penetrated inland, killing indiscriminately. They took advantage of the impunity guaranteed by the State and the possible complicity of the police and other governement apparatus. The late Archbishop fought for justice during his lifetime, but many crimes still require investigation. The search for justice continues", recalls Dayal.
On August 25 of 2008, the violence against the Christian community in Kandhamal led to the death of about 100 Christians, although the government officially speaks of 38 victims. An estimated 5,600 homes were looted and burned, while about 300 churches and other places of worship were destroyed. Over 50 thousand faithful fled into the woods and began a life as refugees to survive ethnic cleansing.
Many of the survivors of violence have yet to receive justice. On August 2, the Supreme Court of India ordered the government of Orissa State to review 315 cases of violence, all cases reported to the police but not adequately investigated.
The NGO Christian Solidarity Worldwide, in a note sent to Fides, said: "The decision of the Supreme Court to reopen 315 cases is a first step: we ask the state and federal government to ensure that the perpetrators of those crimes are arrested and pay for their actions. What happened in Kandhamal must not be forgotten; we will have to persist in asking to face injustice". (PA) (Agenzia Fides 25/08/2016)

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