21 February 2018

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10/22/2015 INDIA

Msgr. Barwa writes to the government: Cemeteries, aid and justice for Christians in Orissa

The Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, sends an open letter to Prime Minister of the State scene of the 2008 pogroms. The Christian minority "still waiting for justice for the persecution, in a climate of impunity created by political protectionism." But not only , the community also wants to bury its dead and new appointments in educational institutions for minorities.

Bhubaneswar (AsiaNews) - Land to bury the dead in a dignified manner, appointments and government support for numerous schools run by minorities, justice for the pogroms of 2008, which caused casualties and devastation. These are the requests that the  Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, Msgr. John Barwa, has forwarded to the prime minister of the Indian state of Orissa in an open letter.

In the seven point text, the bishop raises some urgent problems for the Christian community and other religious minorities. He begins with a fact: "Christians are the second largest religious community in Bhubaneswar: there are 20 thousand followers of Jesus. And yet we only have one Christian cemetery. In hospitals of the area there are many Christians by the Member of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh: if they die and have no family, we have to bury them here”.

Nevertheless, the government does not give enough space: "In some cases we are forced to bury even four people in the same lot, and that's unethical.  We ask you to provide us the land we need to bury our dead”.

The second point is the issue of teachers for many schools managed by minorities in Orissa, but the government does not appoint new ones when seniors are retiring. Funding is also needed for  the maintenance and renovation of facilities. "They are also used real commissions that support underrepresented communities and their members: They are an urgent requirement to help the most needy".

The last points are dedicated to the pogroms in August 2008 that devastated the area. Kandhamal district, on the basis of false accusations, Hindu extremists unleashed the most violent persecution against the Christian minority in Indiaian history.

These pogroms, writes the bishop, "forced 56 thousand faithful to flee and caused the looting and the burning of 5,600 houses in 415 villages. According to government figures 38 people were confirmed dead, while in fact the dead are at least 90 ".

Furthermore, Msgr. Barwa notes "those found guilty for this tragedy are still at large. Of 3,232 complaints lodged with the police only 825 cases have been opened, including 302 arbitrarily closed for 'lack of evidence'. Out of 35 murder cases, 33 have been shelved. The rape of a nun led to the conviction of one man".

This climate of impunity, he writes, "comes from fundamentalists groups who are supported by political parties that orchestrate, manage, instigate and carry out actions against the Christian minority. Therefore the culprits enjoy a political patronage whose real role has not yet been understood. We ask you, sir, for a thorough investigation: today the administration is affected to the detriment of poor Christian victims".

See also

24/08/2010 INDIA
Economic interests of upper caste Hindus behind the massacres in Orissa
Two years after the anti-Christian pogroms that began August 24, 2008 in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa), survivors of violence are still in danger and seeking justice. The Archbishop of Cuttack Bhubaneswar, attacks business men of high caste Hindus. They exploited the massacres to maintain economic power in the region, preventing the Church emancipation of Dalits and tribals who converted to Christianity.

21/09/2010 INDIA
After the pogroms, the Church in Orissa working to remove fear and suspiciousness in people
On the International Day of Peace, people from different religious backgrounds took part joint activities in Kandhamal to promote interfaith dialogue between Christians and Hindus two years after anti-Christian pogroms broke out. “Efforts are being made to remove fear and suspiciousness among the people,” the archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said.

23/01/2018 13:35:00 INDIA
Orissa, 534 confirmations in the persecuted Church of Kandhamal

Three Confirmation ceremonies were held in the district. In 2008, the Indian state was the scene of the most violent anti-Christian pogroms. 175 young people confirmed in the parish of St. Peter of Pobingia; 88 other young people in the parish of Saint Sebastian in Saramuli; 271 young people from the parish of St. Joseph of Godapur.

03/09/2010 INDIA
More than 4,000 Christians victims of abuses and forced conversions in Orissa
In 20 villages in Kandhamal District hit by anti-Christian pogroms in 2008, Hindus continue to prevent Christians from participating in social life, including the use of public fountains and cutting wood in the forest. “they need to live a dignified life. The Orissa State government has an obligation to do something about it and protect Christians from this inhuman treatment,” the archbishop Cuttack-Bhubaneswar said.

17/04/2009 INDIA
Orissa: Christians in refugee camps vote but they are just a minority of all displaces people
The situation is calm in Kandhamal, the Orissa district most affected by Hindu violence. Tight security measures and the timely provision of identity papers allow Christians in refugee camps to cast their ballot. However, another 51,000 displaced Christians who are not in such camps have not been able to vote. Bhubaneswar bishop is “satisfied by the election process”, but stresses that ‘in the villages BJP supporters have threatened to expel Christians if they do not vote for their party.”

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