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Anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal four years later
ICC Note:
The anti-Christian violence in Orissa in 2008 may be over, but the effects continue on. This article discusses a recent survey which was done to assess the progress of the last four years, and the results are abysmal.  Too many Christians remain homeless or in ghettos; many have been banned from returning home until they convert to Hinduism.  A majority of the perpetrators of the violence have been acquitted and many Christians feel that the government has not provided them enough compensation. It is safe to say that believers feel the persecution is far from over.
By Nirmala Carvalho
08/27/2012 India ( Four years after anti-Christian pogroms were perpetrated by Hindu ultranationalists, at least 10,000 people are still without a home in Kandhamal (Orissa). Many families have been forced to live in ghettoes, Christians who refuse to convert to Hinduism continue to be victims of social, economic and political boycott, and compensation for lost homes and churches have proven inadequate or non-existent.

Violence broke out in 2008 in Orissa following the death of Laxamananda Saraswati, a leader in Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu ultranationalist group, who was killed by a Marxist group.
Although Marxist rebels claimed responsibility for the murder from the start, Hindu activists turned their anger against the Christian minority, especially Dalits and Adivasi, in Kandhamal District.
As a result of the pogrom, 55,000 Christians fled. Some 5,600 homes in 415 villages were plundered and set on fire. According to government figures, 38 people were killed, two women were gang-raped and many people were left permanent physical injuries due to torture.

Before the violence, survivors worked as day labourers, farmers or small craftsmen. After the pogrom, they lost their jobs and have to endure a systematic boycott by Hindus. Most of them now live on less than a dollar a day.
Among the survivors who fled Kandhamal because of the violence, at least 10,000 people have not gone back home. In Bhubaneswar alone, more than five thousand people are struggling to live as best they can.

In places like the village of Beticola, Christian families were told not to return unless they converted into Hinduism.
The quest for justice and redress has fared worse. Out of 3,232 complaints filed by victims and their families, only 1,541 were accepted by the district police. Of these, 828 were registered as a first information report (FIR).
Out of 245 cases dealt with by the Fast Track Court, convictions were obtained in 73 cases. Another 267 cases are still waiting to go to trial.
As of today, 2,433 people have been acquitted against 452 who have been convicted. Of the 30 cases involving murder, only six people involved in two cases were sentenced to life in prison.

The government has no plans to pay compensation for the churches and other Christian facilities destroyed. According to figures collected by the Church and activists, in addition to almost 300 churches destroyed, the Church lost several convents, schools, hostels and welfare agencies.
According to government data, 50 people were killed in the violence. Christian activists say 91 people died: 38 were killed during the violence, 41 died from their wounds and injuries and 12 in police actions.
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