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Orissa Christians: We will not renounce our faith

ICC Note

Christians who were displaced following attacks by Hindu radicals in Orissa are not yet ready to return back to their villages fearing more violence.

By Joseph Keenan

10/09/2009 India (The Christian Post)-Orissa Christians in refugee camps told a visiting Living Letters team from World Council of Churches (WCC) that they had begun to rebuild their homes and lives, but added they were afraid to return to their villages permanently in case of further attacks.

Following the swami’s death, Hindu mobs attacked Christians, burning their homes, shops, churches and orphanages. At least 60 Christians were killed, according to the Orissa government’s report, but church leaders in Orissa say the figures were higher and accuse the government of intentionally undercounting the number of deaths.

About 4,500 Christian homes were burnt down and 180 churches destroyed. More than 30,000 Christians from Orissa were forced to take shelter in refugee camps for many months.

The Living Letters team of eight representatives from churches around the world visited one of the remaining Christian-supported relief camps in the Kandhamal region.

Many of the Christians face problems with rebuilding their homes due to a shortage in funds, according to the team.

Although the Indian Government has pledged some financial aid, the forum reported that not all victims had received the money legally entitled to them and that it fell short of what was needed.

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