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(AsiaNews) – Christians in Orissa are suffering violence and persecution for their faith, guised as a fight against leftist rebels: “We are getting a lot of trouble from the police”, says Father George Puthenkandam, who heads Berhampur diocese’s Vincentnagar parish. Police come from Bathili station in Andhra Pradesh, though police of one state have no jurisdiction in another state. Bishop Joseph Das of Berhampur stated that he has taken the matter up with police and civil officials in Orissa, who, he said, promised action. Vincentnagar parish has mostly tribal believers. The Naxalites, a regional rebel Maoist network, also have tribal members. Louis Kumar said that the police come wearing the particular kind of clothing that Naxalites wear: “They say that if they shoot and kill us after making us wear that dress, no one could question them, because they could declare that the Naxalites were killed in a police encounter.” Michael Kumar Majhi, a parish catechist, was arrested in mid-May: He was tortured during the six days he was locked up in the police station: “Police physically abused me, verbally abused me and the Church, and threw away my Bible and rosary” he explained. Also Protestants are subjected to violence and abuses in Orissa. Pastor Subas Samal and his associate pastor Dhaneshwar Kandi of Kilipal village were arrested and charged with “conversion by inducement” under the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act (OFRA).Mr. Babajee Das, representing the Hindu villagers of Kilipal, has accused pastor Subas. Babajee, saying that Subas had forcibly converted 25 Dalit villagers over a period of 10 years, taking advantage of their illiteracy and luring them with financial enticements. Christian reports instead stated that Babajee took this action because his daughter had shown a strong interest in the Christian faith.