Anti-Christian violence in Odisha’s Kandhamal district raged for seven weeks in 2008. Over 100 people were left dead and many women were raped including a Catholic nun. (Photo: UCA News)
Police in the eastern Indian state of Odisha have filled a first information report after a Hindu group attacked an under-construction church.
The Protestant church in Badaguda village in Koraput district was attacked by more than 150 Hindu “fundamentalists” on May 16, according to Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians.
“As of now, the police are investigating the case and no arrest has been made, but we have full faith in the judiciary and believe that the case will soon be solved,” he said.
“There are 12 tribal Christian families belonging to the Lutheran church and the village has some 60 Hindu families.
“In spite of the challenging situation existing in our country due to the severe attack of Covid-19, goons continue to rule the roost in Koraput district. Even in July last year, an attack on eight Christians in Badaguda resulted in hospital admissions.
“Police inaction at lower levels is emboldening perpetrators to repeat attacks on Christians. We urge the district administration to take suitable action to protect the Christian community.”
We have a very good rapport with all religions, but we are saddened by the latest incident
“As far as our relations with other faiths are concerned, we have a very good rapport with all religions, but we are saddened by the latest incident,” he said.
Father Dibakar Parichha, a Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Archdiocese official, said the attack on the church is a matter of concern.
One of the worst anti-Christian riots in Odisha came on Aug. 23, 2008, when as Hindus celebrated Janmashtami, or the birth of Hindu lord Krishna, their prominent leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was shot dead.
Hindu radicals rounded on Christian targets after dubbing the murder a Christian conspiracy. The unabated violence that continued for seven weeks killed some 100 people, rendered 56,000 homeless and destroyed 6,000 houses and 300 churches.
Soon after the murder, four Christians including an illiterate 13-year-old boy were picked up by Hindu activists, beaten and dumped in police stations.