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Hindu Extremists ‘Motivate’ Christian Girl To Become A Missioner

By T.S. Thomas
12/17/08 BANGALORE, India (UCAN) — Namrata Nayak’s face combines the trauma and the hope of the whole Christian community in Orissa state, eastern India.

A picture of Namrata Nayak, the 10-year old girl, who suffered 40 percent burns during the anti-Christian violence in eastern Indian Orissa state.

Methodist Bishop Sampath Kumar observed, “Her burn scars have disappeared and there is a smile on her face, hope in her eyes.

”The prelate, who until he retired was presiding bishop of the Methodist Church’s Bangalore Episcopal Area, told UCA News the 10-year-old girl’s lively presence impressed him greatly. “She did not complain about anything, nor did she show any vengeance toward anyone,” Bishop Kumar said. Instead, she came across as a “happy innocent child who wants to live for Jesus.”

With another child and 24 widows, Namrata traveled 1,400 kilometers to Bangalore in southern India to attend an advance Christmas celebration for women widowed during the recent anti-Christian violence in Orissa.

They are among 50,000 people displaced by anti-Christian violence that began on Aug. 24 and continued for seven weeks. Hindu fanatics who unleashed the violence killed at least 60 people, most of them Christians.

Global Council of Indian Christians, an ecumenical group based in Bangalore, 2,060 kilometers south of New Delhi, organized the Dec. 8 celebration. The council is involved in rehabilitation work for Orissa’s victims.

Namrata, just a fourth-grader, told UCA News she wants to become a missioner to preach Jesus to her enemies, not just her friends. “It was our enemies who made me courageous and committed,” she explained.

She now stays in a relief camp in Orissa after extremists burned her house in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, where the violence was most acute. Her father, a daily wage earner, ran into the forest, leaving Namrata and her mother.

As the two hid in a bush behind their thatched village church, something exploded nearby, leaving the child with burns on 40 percent of her body.

“About midnight,” Namrata recalled, “I was hit by a big sound and fire. I thought I was dead. My full body was in pain with burns.

Namrata Nayak, the 10-year old girl, who suffered 40 percent burns during the anti-Christian violence in eastern Indian Orissa state, stands with her mother.

Her mother told UCA News the only Christians there were women, and they could not get help to admit Namrata to a hospital. But when they managed to take her to a local government clinic the next morning, they were told to go to a medical school about 50 kilometers away. So, Namrata finally got medical treatment, 12 hours after the attack.

Media say thousands of people across the globe prayed for Namrata’s speedy recovery after an international news agency published a photo of her burnt face. Sajan K. George, the Global Council president, told UCA News that media organizations sold her photos for millions of dollars but did not help her. “At least 1 percent of it should have been spent for her treatment,” he said.

Namrata credits “Sajan uncle” with helping her “very much” by sponsoring her treatment and bringing the group to Bangalore. On that trip, she added, she and the others traveled for the first time by train.

Asked if she is afraid of being a Christian, the girl said she not only will remain a Christian but also wants to become a pracharak (preacher). “I want to sing and dance during Christmas, distribute cakes and sweets to everyone, and wish happy birthday to my Jesus.”