A recent study shed light on a situation hidden for many years from mainstream media sources. Christian victims of the 2008 anti-Christian violence that swept across Orissa have been denied just compensation/assistance from the government. In only cases of death or total destruction of property was the government willing to lend assistance to families devastated by the violence. Many whose property was mostly destroyed or church buildings that were burned to the ground were denied any type of assistance from the government. A court case found that this denial of assistance was a denial of the rights of the victims of the violence. Please pray for these persecuted Christians.
6/11/2013 India (Asia News) – “In the Kandhamal context, the central and state governments have failed to discharge their constitutional mandate to protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” said Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop emeritus of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, as he presented AsiaNews with a report whose findings show the gross inadequacy of state and national compensation offered to the victims of the violent incidents of 2008.
Released last Friday, the study, titled Unjust Compensation: Assessment of Damage and Loss of Private Property during the Anti-Christian Violence in Kandhamal, India, was authored by the Centre for the Sustainable Use of Natural Resources (CSNR, in Bhubaneshwar) and the Network for the Right to Housing and Land (HLRN, in New Delhi). The two NGOs presented their work in cooperation with the Church and the Red Cross.
According to the study, the Orissa government paid out money only in the case of deaths and damaged or destroyed houses. All other type of property-land, personal valuables and furniture, documents, farm equipment, tools, and food reserves-were excluded from the compensation package. This, the prelate said, “has seriously damaged people who suffered almost total ruin.”
As the study indicates, the problem is that there are no policies in the country, at the state or national levels, to settle such losses.
The issue of compensation also goes for destroyed or damaged places of worship. “The government,” Mgr Cheenath noted, “says it cannot fund the rebuilding of damaged churches and religious facilities because India is a secular country.”