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ICC Note:

Local authorities in Bhubaneswar, the capital of India’s northeastern state of Odisha (formally called Orissa), have completely demolished 30 Christian homes and a church to make way for a road to be expanded. Christians in India, fear that persecution is likely to increase now that a Hindu nationalist government has been voted into power. Will incidents like this become more and more common? 

6/12/2014 India (Asia News) – The authorities in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the Indian state of Orissa, yesterday demolished a church and 30 houses of the Christian community that lives in the slums Behera, in the district of Nayapalli. Asia News was alerted of the episode by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). The municipality and the Development Authority justified the destruction of places of worship, housing and all of the worldly possessions of the owners with the need to expand and extend the adjacent street.

According to Sajan K. George, president of the GCIC, the demolition “is a gross violation of human rights. The administration decided to destroy their homes just as Orissa is suffering a heat wave”. Overall, the Christian community in the area has 250 members.

The gesture the activist told Asia News, “is a way to intimidate and persecute these poor Christians. Now they have nowhere to live, and what is worse is that they have no food, no drinking water. Their future is daunting: most survive on daily work or are laborers. How will they survive now that all their belongings were destroyed? What will become of the women and children, who were already living in insecurity?”

The GCIC, he adds, “is not contrary to progress and development, but this should not be done without putting people at the center.”

This is not the first time that the local church has been targeted by the authorities. On 2 July 2008, seven Protestant pastors were beaten and imprisoned on false charges of forced conversions.

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