NEW DELHI – Authorities in communally sensitive Kandhamal district, Orissa state, have beefed up security for vulnerable Christians.
Thousands of police have been deployed in the district to prevent any attacks or violence during Christmas.
"All hot spot areas in Kandhamal have been secured. We have also intensified checking in all entry and exit points," said Superintendent of Police S. Praveen Kumar. more >>
NEW DELHI (Compass Direct News) – The ruling party of Orissa state, which labeled last year’s mayhem in Kandhamal district as “ethnic violence,” has publicly admitted that Hindu nationalist groups were behind the killings and arson of Christians and their property.
“It is learnt from the investigation into the riot cases that the members of the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh], the VHP [World Hindu Council] and the Bajrang Dal were involved in the violence that took place last year,” Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the state legislative assembly last month.
Patnaik, in response to a question by a member of the Communist Party of India, also disclosed that police had arrested 85 people from the RSS, 321 members of the VHP and 118 Bajrang Dal members in the attacks. He said that only 27 members from these groups were still in jail. more >>
A Catholic Archbishop in India’s Orissa state has appealed to the worldwide church to pray this Christmas for victims of the anti-Christian violence that struck parts of India in 2007 and 2008.
Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar has issued a prayer for the season in which he asks for God’s mercy upon the perpetrators of the attacks and comfort for the victims.
Churches were burned down and at least eight people killed when violence broke out in Orissa’s Kandhamal district on Christmas Eve, 2007. Then in 2008, the murder of a radical Hindu leader in August triggered a wave of attacks on Christians and church buildings that lasted until Christmas and resulted in the deaths of 120 Christians. Around 50,000 Christians lost their homes in the attacks. more >>
NEW DELHI – Christians from the Church of North India on Friday kicked off a three-day program to celebrate the 40th year anniversary of their unity.
The Nov. 27-29 event marks "40 years of Unity, Witness and Service" of CNI, which is a union of Protestant churches that merged in 1970 in Nagpur.
"This is the time to celebrate thanking God for what He has done and asking forgiveness for what we have done. This is also the time to seek His direction to do what He wants us to do," said CNI General Secretary the Rev. Enos Das Pradhan in his keynote address. "It is necessary to introspect and retrospect so that we can work more effectively for His coming kingdom." more >>
NEW DELHI (Compass Direct News) – Following six acquittals last week in trials for those accused of the 2008 anti-Christian violence in India’s Orissa state and the release on bail of a key suspect, Christians are losing heart to strive for justice, according to a prosecuting attorney.
The acquittal of six suspects last week raises the total to 121, with just 27 convicted in the Orissa violence by Hindu extremists.
“The victims are so discouraged due to the increasing number of acquittals that they neither have hope nor motivation for the criminal revision of their cases in the higher court,” attorney Bibhu Dutta Das of the Orissa High Court told Compass. more >>
Determined to expunge the past and exhibit a more secular image, the government of India's Orissa state, in partnership with the Church of North India, has introduced Christian heritage tourism.
The announcement was made by Tourism Minister Debi Prasad Mishra who told media that it would bridge the communication gap and portray a more tolerant and peaceful state.
Last year's violence against Christians in the Kandhamal District in Orissa had tarnished the state's reputation, making it a communal hot spot. The violence locally and globally conveyed the feeling that the state was intolerant towards Christians. more >>