ASIA/INDIA - 10 years after the anti-Christian violence in Orissa, victims await compensation

Monday, 14 January 2019 human rights   religious minorities   persecutions  

Kandhamal (Agenzia Fides) - About 3,000 survivors of the anti-Christian massacres in Orissa in 2008 still claim legitimate compensation in proceedings underway in front of the Supreme Court: this is what the justice, peace, development Commission of the archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, in Orissa, reports in a note sent to Agenzia Fides.
The meeting held on 12th January was attended by Mgr. John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, and lawyer Colin Gonsalves, Thomas Minze, President of the "All India Catholic Odisha" association and many lawyers, priests, activists and lay leaders. Those present reiterated their approach to peace, justice and human dignity, noting the urgency of compensation for those whose homes were completely damaged by that wave of violence.
The Archbishop said: "We are gathered to express our closeness to the victims of the violence in the Khandhmal district, we want to cooperate for peace and justice".
The activists present noted that "many perpetrators of anti-Christian violence are free, while innocent people are in prison", referring to the seven Christians still in prison for the alleged murder of Hindu leader Swami Lakshmanananda, an incident that triggered violence.
The priest and activist Fr. Ajay Singh recalled, quoting Pope Paul VI, that "peace and justice walk together", inviting everyone to unity.
Lawyer Colin Gonsalves remarked that "the violence of 2007-2008 belongs to the past, but the same inhumane persecution should never happen again in the future". In two weeks time we will discuss the appeals presented to the Supreme Court for the compensation to the victims".
At a spiritual level everyone remembers that, despite the difficulties and injustices, "the faithful who have suffered violence are steadfast in faith in Christ".
According to information sent to Fides, there were about 5000 houses destroyed or damaged, 232 damaged churches and 414 villages affected in the violence. About 100 people were brutally killed in the 2008 anti-Christian persecution of Kandhamal and about 56,000 displaced persons. There are 827 officially registered court cases but only 362 trials have been completed and, among these, only 78 have been convicted, while 160 trials are still pending. (PN) (Agenzia Fides, 14/01/2019)