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Gruesome Attacks on Christians – Kandhamal (India) a Burial Spot

The entire world is watching the gruesome killings of Christians in Khandhamal in Orissa in India and has voiced its condemnation of such incidents as a violation of human rights. French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, as President of the European Union, raised the issue of grotesque attacks on Christians in Orissa and sought reassurance from Indian Prime Minister, Dr.Manmohan Singh that efforts would be made by the Government to put an end to the atrocities being committed on the minorities. Dr. Singh informed the European Union that the incident was an internal matter, but was definitely a “national shame” and that the secular character of India was not altered due to the attacks.

During this incident, about 30 people died and nearly 7,000 families were rendered homeless. Since August 24th, several churches were destroyed when the attacks on Christians began as an aftermath to the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) functionary Laxmananda Saraswati by the Maoists. Over 10,000 have escaped into the forests or neighboring districts to escape the wrath of the Sangh Parivar attackers. Over 40,000 people have been involuntarily displaced, according to an eyewitness. The Orissa government, commenting upon the setting-up of relief camps, said that the number of those located in these relief camps had come down from 27,000 to 14,000.

Several women were attacked. It is alleged a Catholic nun was also raped. Husbands were butchered in front of their wives. The police responded lukewarmly in registering cases against those accused of arson and killing.

Recent developments in the Kandhamal incidents establish the involvement of the Maoists who corroborate the claim of having killed the Swami. The Maoists claim that they had punished the Swami as he had been perpetuating atrocities against the Christians and caused much damage to the socio-cultural setup of Kandhamal.

For the past three days, no untoward incident has been taking place and prohibitory orders were in force to prevent such occurrences. Kandhamal, it is hoped will return to normalcy.

According to latest BBC reports, three people have been arrested in connection with the killing of the Swami. The suspects are Christians who had strong links with the Maoist rebels operating in the district. Hard-line Hindu of course still hold Christians responsible for the death of the Swami rather than the Maoists.

Four suspected of raping the Catholic nun have been arrested in Orissa. Reports also highlight the attacks on Christians in other southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and central part of Madhya Pradesh.

Hindu groups have often accused Christian priests of offering bribes to poor tribals in order to convert them to Christians. Lower caste people willingly convert in order to escape the Hindu caste system.

Many conscientious political groups have asked for the ban of Bajrang Dal and have demanded central intervention in resolving the communal problem in Orissa. The National Integration Council meeting to be held soon will focus on the security issues of the minorities within the country. The other issue on the agenda is communal harmony. Union ministers, Chief Ministers and leaders of various political parties will participate in the meeting.

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