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Orissa: insecurity and hatred await Christians forced out of refugee camps

ICC Note: Orissa government’s “relief” for Christians is to evict them from camps and send them back home with $200, some rice, a polythene roll to repair their homes, and no promise of protection from further attacks.

by Nirmala Carvalho
01/12/09 Bhubaneshwar, India (AsiaNews) – There is no sign that the long journey of suffering by Orissa’s Christian community is anywhere near its end. The government has decided to shut down refugee camps and force Christians to leave but no one is providing them with any guarantee as to their security against further violence once back home; instead, they are still the object of hatred and rejection.

Father Nithiya, a Franciscan, is among those who saw first hand this new, more subtle anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal. Here last August groups of radicals killed hundreds of people, setting fire to churches and homes, and destroying crops and fields.

Of the 50,000 people who fled the massacres, some 20,000 found refuge in camps set up by the government.

Father Nithiya, who is also executive secretary for the Justice and Peace Commission, visited some of the refugees from the village of Gobalpur, who underwent neurolinguistic therapies to help them overcome their trauma.

“Government-run refugee camps have been closed,” he told AsiaNews, “and people are being sent away with some money, about 10,000 rupees (or US$ 200).

“They are really scared and are trying to emigrate to other districts or states. Security is being maintained in the big cities but in remote villages there is no safety for Christians. It is ridiculous for the government to get rid of Christians for a just 10,000 rupees.” … [Go To Full Story]