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Upper castes behind anti-Christian violence in Orissa

ICC Note:

The Commission on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes claims that the Hindu extremists behind the recent attacks on Christians are an attempt by the upper castes to keep the Dalits and Tribals that the Christians would assist from becoming literate and developing enough to resist the exploitation of their imposed ignorance and poverty.

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1/11/2008 India (AsiaNews) The series of violent actions against Christians in the Indian state of Orissa were orchestrated by upper caste Hindus who want to stop the Church from helping Dalits develop, this according to Fr Cosmon Arockiaraj, executive secretary of the Commission on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India who spoke to AsiaNews about the matter.

The clergyman pointed out that most of the properties involved belonged to Dalits and Tribals in “Phulbani and Kandhamal, areas largely inhabited by lower caste residents rather than areas in big cities like Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, home to prestigious Christian schools.”

For Fr Arockiaraj, “those who monopolise business in the state don’t want to see Dalits and Tribals become literate and develop economically because they might break out of their ignorance and poverty and would thus be less easily exploited” by the upper castes.

By contrast, the Church “treats these people with dignity, offering the marginalised an education and professional training through its rural schools and hostels,” thus providing them with some hope in a better future and greater knowledge of their rights.

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