Four years after violent uprising in India, Orissa state Christians are still living in refugee camps and are routinely subjected to discrimination and persecution.
The suffering of Christians in this region in India stems from the August 2008 murder of local Hindu leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a radical Hindu political party. A Marxist group operating in India had taken responsibility for the killing but those declarations went largely ignored.
Unofficial reports indicate more than 500 Christians were killed and thousands of homes destroyed in the weeks following, with present day figures conservatively estimated to be in the tens of thousands.
"The Christians in Orissa are not going to abandon their faith. The servants of God in Orissa are not going to stop preaching the Gospel. If anything, there's going to be more zeal for God and for the Kingdom," Ebenezer Samuel, founder and president of Serve India Ministries, previously stated.
The strength of the gospel taking hold of Christians in heavily persecuted areas in India cannot be overlooked as they continue to profess their love of Jesus Christ and to spread his message of compassion and forgiveness.
"India is so responsive to the Gospel right now … We are hearing from virtually all the corners of India about openness, response, people being baptized by the thousands, even the tens of thousands ... It just appears to us that all the conditions are right for a wonderful, massive, movement to Christ in India," Dave Stravers, president of Michigan-based Mission India, told Mission Network News.
But even with the strong convictions of India's Christians, it has done little to curb the unprovoked and brutal attacks Christians of all ages face on any given day. That seems to be changing, though, as governments around the world are labeling the merciless killing of people in Orissa as genocide.
"Even some from our U.S. government have written to the Indian government and said, 'This is unacceptable … The reason they're saying it's genocide is because it's targeted at one particular segment of society: the Christians and the Dalits," Peter Dance, of Operation Mobilization, said in a statement.