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ICC Note:

Since the ascendancy of the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the late 1990s, radical Hindu nationalists have become increasingly strident in their campaign to further inculcate Hinduism throughout every fabric of Indian society. Part of this campaign includes violence against Christians, particularly in rural villages. President Narendra Modi has spoken on the importance of protecting freedom of religion, but his administration has shown little interest in carrying out these pluralistic pledges. Here is a look back to the worst incidence of anti-Christian violence in India’s history.

7/28/2015 India (Crux) – In the galaxy of contemporary anti-Christian persecution, the martyrs of Kandhamal in India hold a special place, and not just because statistically they died amid the worst outbreak of violence specifically directed at Christians so far in the 21st century.

The manner in which many of these Christians lost their lives, almost all of whom come from the Indian caste once considered “untouchable,” was almost unimaginably grotesque – violence more at home in the Bible or early Christian martyrology, seemingly, than the here-and-now.

On Monday, Crux sat down with five Christian widows who lost their husbands amid the mayhem that broke out in August, 2008, when the assassination of a local Hindu leader was blamed on the Christian minority.

By all accounts, the pogroms were instigated by radical Hindu activists seeking to eliminate the Christian presence from the area.

The interview with the widows took place in Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha state (formerly known as Orissa), where the killing occurred, and was organized by the Global Council of Indian Christians, an advocacy and relief group for Christian victims of religious persecution.

These are their stories about their husbands’ murders.

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