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ICC Note:

On Friday, August 25, Christians across India marked the 9th Kandhamal Day, commemorating the anniversary of the worst instance of Christian persecution in the country’s independent history. Starting on August 25, 2008, Hindu radical mobs swept across the Kandhamal District of India’s Odisha State targeting Christians. The violence lasted three months and led to widespread destruction. Despite the passage of 9 years, many Christians affected by the violence have yet to receive any form of compensation or justice. 

08/27/2017 India (Crux) – On August 25, Christians around India will be marking Kandhamal Day, commemorating the 9th anniversary of the worst anti-Christian attacks in India’s history, and some of the worst anywhere in the world.

Kandhamal is a district of the eastern Indian state of Odisha, formerly known as Orissa, where an orgy of violence descended upon the impoverished Christian minority in August 2008.

A series of riots led by radical Hindus left roughly 100 people dead, thousands injured, 300 churches and 6,000 homes destroyed, and 50,000 people displaced, many forced to hide in nearby forests where more died of hunger and snakebites.

“More than ten thousand people will gather in solidarity in Kandhamal,” said Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

Barwa’s own niece, a Servite nun by the name of Sister Meena Barwa, was gang-raped during the violence and then paraded naked through the village in a final act of humiliation. A local priest, Father Thomas Chellan, who served along with her in Kandhamal, was savagely beaten.

The archbishop told Crux those gathering for Kandhamal Day are not there just to pray for the sacrifices of those who died and those who still struggle and suffer for their faith in the region, but to support the demands of the victims and survivors for justice.

In August 2016, India’s Supreme Court ordered the state government to re-investigate 315 cases of violence reported during the riots, where police did not follow up on reported crimes, or the perpetrators were not prosecuted.

The 315 cases concerned are instances in which reports were made to the police but were not followed through or did not result in prosecution of the offenders.

The court also said the compensations that were paid to some of the victims were inadequate, and ordered restitution to be paid to anyone injured during the riots.

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