Hindu extremists, some wielding machetes, have been on the rampage in the north-eastern state since the murder of Hindu leader Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati and four of his associates last month.
The Christian Post reports that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, has added his voice to calls for an immediate end to the violence being waged against Christians in India’s Orissa state.
Christian homes, orphanages and churches have been burned down, while 16 people have been killed. In one of the worst incidents, a young woman was burned alive when she tried to protect children from an attack on their Christian orphanage.
Read full story in the Christian Post
The following is an excerpt from the statement issued at a press conference held Thursday by Dr John Dayal, Secretary General, All India Christian Council, and Dr. Sam Paul, National Secretary for Public Affairs on the situation in Orissa:
The toll is morbid and should shake the conscience of the Indian government, its people and the world at large. Over 50,000 Christians, including children in Kandhamal have been hiding in forests for close to two weeks. Over 4,000 houses have been burned and 300 villages entirely destroyed. A Nun has been gang- raped, a Hindu burnt alive in a Christian orphanage, over 60 Churches and institutions destroyed, many for the second time [107 churches were at the brunt of this violence n December 2007]. We do not know the exact death toll but we have confirmed two pastors among 25 persons whose bodies have been recovered so far. Violence has spread to many districts of Orissa, and to Madhya Pradesh.
To read the entire statement go to ASSIST News Service.