Orissa Victims to Return Home in Aftermath of Anti-Christian Attacks

Dozens of Christians who were sheltered in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala during the August anti-Christian violence will return to their villages in Orissa.

Tentative plans are underway by the Kerala government to send back at least 56 Christians to Orissa, where attacks last year by Hindu extremists left at least 60 Christians dead, more than 5,000 homes destroyed, and more than 50,000 displaced.

The victims took refuge in Kochi, a city in Kerala, after human rights activists and church groups pleaded for help. The government offered the refugees shelter and also aided them with daily needs.

According to the Kerala Social Welfare Department, the decision to send the displaced back home came as some refugees became "restless" and asked the government to help them return to the east Indian state of Orissa. The department says it will not act in an impulsive manner on the victims' demand, until the government reviews the current situation in Orissa.

Meanwhile, the Kerala authorities have filed a complaint with the police after two couples and three young women left the camp early on Tuesday. They left a note saying they were returning to Orissa.

Authorities were unable to place the refugees under detention since they did not engage in any criminal activities.

A senior government official is expected to visit Orissa to assess the situation before sending the victims back to their homes.