DOES IT EVER END?
Last month, in Eastern India, over 60 Christians have been killed by extremist Hindu forces. Evidently Christians are being forced to live in relocation camps for their own safety. According to the Barnabas Fund:
“…Hindu extremist violence against the Christian community in Orissa State, India, which started on 24 August (see previous articles : 12/09/2008, 01/09/2008), has continued almost unabated since then. At least 50 Christians have been murdered, some cut to pieces and others burnt alive. Many fear that the death toll is even higher, with one estimate suggesting that 120 Christians have been killed. About 18,000 people have been injured, many of them severely; numerous Christian women have been raped; some 4,400 homes have been destroyed; 300 villages have been cleansed of all Christians; and several orphanages and hundreds of churches and church buildings have been torched and razed. Relief camps, where Christians have fled for safety and shelter, have been attacked and drinking water has been poisoned.
Over 50,000 Christians are thought to be homeless, and around 30,000, more than half of them children, are hiding in the jungle, many without any food and water. Starvation is a very real danger for many of them, especially for the children, the elderly and the sick. Christians wanting to return to their homes have been told by the Hindu extremists: “Come back as Hindu or don’t come back at all.” Many who dare to return to their villages are forcibly converted to Hinduism…”
Evidently well over 118 Christians have been murdered since August.
“…Today about 10,000 Christians – mostly Dalits and a few tribals – languish in state-run relief camps and are afraid to return home due to continuing threats by Hindu extremists. Maoist militants claimed responsibility for the swami’s murder, but rightwing Hindu groups blamed Christians and attacked Christians in 14 of 30 districts.
Today the All India Christian Council (aicc) announced it has reliable reports of 118 murdered Christians. Names, locations, and more details are available for 91; the remaining 27 are confirmed by reliable sources but bodies haven’t been identified. Previously, the confirmed death toll was 60 people. However, a fact finding report by an Indian political party estimated 500 deaths after interviews revealed many bodies were not recovered by authorities and some were cremated or buried clandestinely by attackers.
Dr. John Dayal, aicc Secretary General, said, “For thousands of displaced Dalit and tribal Christians in Kandhamal District, this will be their second Christmas spent in relief camps or hiding in the forests. Children couldn’t go to school for much of the year and their parents were unable to find steady work. Threats and coercion against Christian leaders continues unrestrained. We pray for peace and restoration of the rule of law, but the local Christian community is understandably pessimistic.” Hindu extremists targeted Christians in Kandhamal District between Dec. 24, 2007-Jan. 2, 2008….”