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More homes burned in Orissa. Statement by the bishops

ICC Note: As the government asserts the situation is returning to normal, more Christian homes were burned last night and Hindus continue to destroy whatever property Christians left behind, including animals.

by Nirmala Carvalho
10/20/08 Bhubaneshwar, India (AsiaNews) – Groups of Hindu radicals have burned a number of homes belonging to Christians over the night of October 19, in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa). The government of the state says that the situation “is returning to normal,” but the bishops of the region, in a statement published today, say that “the Christians of Kandhamal have lost faith in the state government, and they feel that their fundamental right to live has been totally taken away by the constitutionally elected government.”

Fr. Manoj Digal, head of rural affairs for the social center of the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, tells AsiaNews that “every night, defying the curfew imposed from 10 o’clock until 5 in the morning, extremist Hindu groups roam around the villages in these remote areas with flashlights, bringing destruction everywhere they go. On the night of October 19, a number of homes belonging to Christians were burned in the area of Ratingia and Kurmingia. The few homes that were spared from the destruction in August were razed to the ground.”

“After the physical destruction and human casualties,” the priest continues, “now it is the turn of the animals. Hens, goats, buffalo and oxen are being stolen. In various villages, after the destruction of the homes belonging to Christians, the extremists are killing the goats and hens, and celebrating amid the ruins of the Christian village.”

The ransacking and destruction of farming resources makes the return of Christian to their land increasingly unlikely. “At least 12,000 Christians,” says Fr. Manoj, “have abandoned the refugee camps set up by the government, and have migrated to neighboring states, where they will have to begin a new life with absolutely nothing, not even an identification document. It is a tremendous human tragedy, an extremely serious violation of human rights.” … [Go To Full Story]