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Church builds new homes for Christians and Hindus in Orissa

ICC Note

Following the devastating religious and ethnic violence of 2008, Catholics are building about 5,550 housing units in Kandhamal District. Some 700 Hindu families are among the beneficiaries. Local priests warn that sectarian tensions remain high. “We work for everyone, without hiding anything,” they say.

By Santosh Digal

05/10/2010 India (AsiaNews)The Catholic Church in Orissa has launched a plan to build 5,550 housing units in Kandhamal, a district in the state devastated by violence caused by radical Hindu nationalists in the summer of 2008. Local Hindus and Christians who lost their homes will be eligible under the plan.

Local Catholic sources said that the official death toll from the violence stood at more than 90 people, mostly Christians. About 50,000 residents were also forced from their homes. Religious intolerance but also local politics played a role in the violence. Since then, no credible rehabilitation plan has been introduced in the area.

“Thanks to donations from Christians, some 1,360 low-cost houses were completed by the end of April,” Fr Ajaya Kumar Singh told AsiaNews. “Our goal is 5,550 homes. Some 700 Hindu families will benefit; the rest will go to Christians.”

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