Christian leaders in India’s northeastern state of Odisha have called on the government to provide greater protection to Christians being persecuted by Hindu hardliners. Odisha State is no stranger to violence against Christians. In 2008, mobs of Hindu radicals swept across the state’s Kandhamal District in a 4-month pogrom against the district’s Christian population. When the violence was finally brought under control, over 100 Christians were killed and 50,000 more displaced. Will India provide greater protection for this highly persecuted Christian population?
1/7/2016 India (Vatican Radio) – Christian leaders ask government to provide protection against Hindu hardliners who continue to threaten the community in eastern Indian Odisha state that has witnessed major anti-Christian violence.
Using a strike that called for tribal rights as a pretext, the mobs blocked roads on Christmas morning with logs and stones in several villages to ensure that villagers were unable to get any help during an attack. Although police later cleared the roads, “Christmas was celebrated in fear and sadness. Father Santosh Digal from Cuttuck-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese said the roadblocks always create panic among local Christians because of past experiences.
Christian leader Amir Nayak said mobs have been blocking roads in the tribal-dominated district that witnessed several instances of violence against Christians, the worst being four-months of violence that broke out in September 2008. Rampaging Hindu mobs that month burned down Christian houses, convents and churches and raped women. At least 100 people were killed and some 50,000 were displaced.