Giving hope to persecuted Christians since 1995
Select Page

Bishop of Orissa: “I have no faith” in the justice of the state

ICC Note: First response of Christians to the meager efforts the government has taken to stop the violence in Orissa.

by Nirmala Carvalho
10/22/08 Bhubaneshwar, India (AsiaNews) – Archbishop Raphael Cheenath blasts as unreliable the commissions of inquiry set up by the government of Orissa to investigate the violence against Christians by Hindu extremists. In a statement made public today, he says that he “has no faith” in the two judges chosen by the government, suspected of “covering up the misdeeds of the state government and its police force whose actions have been truly shameful.” The statement of the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar – the diocese in Orissa where most of the violence against Christians emerged, and has continued for more than a month – comes just a few hours after the state government – long accused of colluding with the Hindu extremists – refused to pay for the rebuilding of churches destroyed by the fundamentalists.

Meanwhile, fresh violence is being recorded: this morning, a Catholic church in Tikamgarh (diocese of Satna, Madhya Pradesh) was in danger of being burned down. Last October 19, in Karnataka, four seminarians were beaten by members of the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), who accused them of “proselytism and forced conversions.”

Archbishop Cheenath accuses the state of Orissa of choosing the members of the commission, headed by Judge Mohapatra, without consulting the community that has been the victim of the violence. He says that an “independent” and “strong-willed” judge is needed, one capable of revealing the responsibilities of state officials in the violence underway.

Instead, Judge Mohapatra is already demonstrating his “insensitivity to the suffering of the victims.” The bishop points out, in fact, that although the commission was created more than a month after the violence, the judge now wants to speed up the collection of witness testimony from the Christians… [Go To Full Story]