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ICC Note:

Christians across India have marked the six year anniversary of the beginning of the 2008 Anti-Christian Riots that spread like wildfire across India’s northeastern state of Orissa. In 2008, the riots lasted for months before the Indian government intervened and when the dust settled, Christians had been “cleansed” from over 400 villages. Christians in Orissa still face intense persecution and always fear that more riots could be sparked against them. Many Christian families affected by the riots have received no justice as many cases were not registered by local police and those that were have been handled poorly. Please pray for the Christian community of Orissa today. 

8/25/2014 India (Asia News) – Faith in Christ crucified “is rooted in a profound way in Orissa. Our people live in truth and love, and despite our suffering, devotion to the religious life has increased. Six years have passed from the terror of the pogroms, but the witness offered by the victims remain steadfast. Massacres carried out by Hindu extremists in Orissa remains in all our minds, and this has produced fertile seeds,” the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar, Msgr. John Barwa SVD told Asia News. He is commemorating the Day of Remembrance in memory of those who died in the massacres carried out by Hindu extremists in Orissa August 25, 2008.

That day, the local Christians faced unspeakable persecution because of their faith: falsely accused of killing a Hindu holy man, Christians were systematically targeted by a group of ultra-nationalist Hindus, sparking a large scale witch-hunt. The local government allowed them to slaughter and vent their anger with total impunity.

During the persecutions, about 400 villages were purged of all Christians; more than 6,000 houses, 340 churches, chapels, clinics and schools were burned and destroyed; thousands of people were injured; many women and girls – including Sister Meena, nephew of the bishop – suffered gang rapes; and about 60,000 men, women and children were left homeless. A total of 75 people, including the treasurer of the archdiocese, were brutally killed. The victims include 22 Catholics, 28 Baptists, 12 Pentecostals, 4 of the Anglican Church of North India, one of the independent Church and 8 non-Christian tribal.

Out of 3,331 complaints, only 800 or so were registered. Out of those, only 518 cases charges-sheeted. Just 247 cases have been disposed of, with a high number of acquittals. Out of 30 murder cases that have been tried so far, only 2 resulted in conviction for murder, and about in four for lesser offences (than murder). All others have resulted in an acquittal.

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