U.K. Christians Express Solidarity with Indian Brethren

More than 20,000 letters are to be handed to the Indian High Commission later in the month in a show of solidarity with Christians in India's Orissa state.

The letters have been gathered by Open Doors and Premier Christian Radio as part of their Faith Without Fear campaign, which is calling on Christians in the United Kingdom to contact Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and urge him to help Christians displaced by violent attacks last year to return to their homes.

The campaign also calls on the Indian government to ensure the swift trial of perpetrators, protection for witnesses and adequate compensation for victims.

Some 50,000 Christians lost their homes and another 120 were killed in the attacks, triggered by the murder of Hindu extremist leader Swami Laxmanananda.

More than one year later, more than 4,000 Christians are still living in makeshift government camps where conditions are reportedly poor.

Open Doors said that many of them could not return to their homes because of continuing threats from Hindu militants on their lives.

The letters from Christians in the United Kingdom call upon the Indian government to ensure justice and equality for the Christian community in Orissa.

Vijayesh Lal, secretary for the Religious Liberty Commission of the Evangelical Fellowship of India, is traveling to the United Kingdom to present the letters to the Indian High Commission in London.

Describing the situation that many Christians are facing, he said, "Many people still can't go back to their homes for fear of being forced to convert to Hinduism. I have met some of the victims and it is heart-rending to hear their stories. What amazes me is their resolve to follow Christ at any cost."