Mental shift

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INDIA: Attacks and ‘Reconversions’ Continue in Orissa

Posted by jytmkh on September 14, 2008

CompassDirect
The spate of anti-Christian violence that began following the killing of a Hindu
leader on 23 August in Orissa’s Kandhamal district continued yesterday, despite
a stream of meetings by Christian and rights groups with high government
officials.

According to the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI), more than 20 houses
belonging to Christians from the Orissa Follow-Up ministry (OFU) in Khajuripada
village in Kandhamal were set on fire last night. The Rev. Dr. D.B. Hrudaya of
the OFU told EFI that the whereabouts of the 20 families whose houses were
destroyed were unknown and that he was “deeply concerned.”

Earlier in the day, around 70 families in four villages – Bogapada, Boriguda,
Kuttiguda and Danniguda – in Kandhamal were forcibly ‘reconverted’ to Hinduism
by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP) extremists.

On Sunday (7 September), a mob of around 2,000 people attacked a church during
the morning worship service in Bhudainjal village in another district,
Kalahandi, reported EFI. While the church members were able to flee, the
attackers caught hold of two church workers and assaulted them.

“When the three-month pregnant wife of one of the men tried to rescue her
husband, one person in the mob kicked her in the stomach,” EFI reported. “She
was admitted to the Kathiguda Government Hospital.”

In the afternoon, the mob burned a day care centre in nearby Bamnichatra
village. The crowd also stole items worth around 10,000 rupees ($280 AUD) from
the centre before setting it on fire.

There were also reports of Hindu extremists poisoning the water at relief camps
in Kandhamal.

“An attempt to poison the drinking water source of the relief camp in Habaq High
School in G. Udayagiri village, Kandhamal was foiled by an alert security guard
at 9 pm on 2 September,” EFI said in a statement.

The water of another relief camp in Vijay High School in Raikia, Kandhamal was
reportedly poisoned last Wednesday (3 September). Six Christians fell ill from
the toxicity and were taken to hospitals, according to EFI.

The violence in Orissa began following the killing of a VHP leader, Laxmanananda
Saraswati, and four of his disciples on 23 August in his ashram (religious
centre) in the Jalespeta area of Kandhamal district. A Maoist group claimed
responsibility for the killings, but the VHP continues to blame Christians.

The Global Council of India Christians has recorded at least 56 deaths thus far,
and the rights group believes the toll could cross 100. Hundreds of houses and
churches have also been burned or destroyed in the violence, forcing thousands
to hide in jungles or take shelter in relief camps set up by the state
government.

Orissa is ruled by a coalition of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
and the Biju Janata Dal party.

Christians make up 2.4 percent of Orissa’s population, or 897,861 of the total
36.7 million people.

Compass Direct

Please pray the Lord will intervene, may he bring peace.
Pray for those who have been forced to ‘reconvert’.
Pray those who are missing will be found.
Pray the Lord will frustrate the plans of the wicked.

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