On September 19, 2008, we were alerted by a reader in India to a story about the violence between Christians and Hindus in India. Click here to read the story.
India: Aftermath of violence leaves scars on Orissa
Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders in India have reported at least 27 Adventists dead from anti-Christian brutality that developed in the eastern India region of Orissa in late August. Church leaders said there are still violent outbreaks in the area despite India’s Central Reserve Police forces patrolling the state.
Choudampalli John, president of the Adventist Church in east India, reported that he was not allowed to enter the areas where extremist violence occurred. John also said some Adventists are still hiding in the jungles because they fear retribution from other refugees at government-run aid camps.
Other church leaders commented on the severity of the situation.
Paka Jesurathnam, Adventist church leader for Orissa, reported thousands of houses and three dozen Adventist churches were likely destroyed and looted.
“To evaluate the actual loss of lives, property, people … dwelling places and worship centers is impossible right now,” said Jesurathnam. “To hear … personal stories [makes] our nerves ache and blood dry.”
“To hear … personal stories [makes] our nerves ache and blood dry.”
The Prime Minister of India has condemned the violence, calling it a “national disgrace,” according to published reports.
Possibly as many as 50,000 Christians from the Kandhamal region of Orissa are scattered throughout the seven government-run refugee camps and the surrounding jungle, Ecumenical News International reported.
Hindu extremists are blamed for beheading an Adventist pastor in August. Samuel Naik, pastor of the Phulwani Adventist Church, and his mother were killed during anti-Christian violence sweeping the region of India. Church leaders reported that Naik’s wife, who was previously reported to have committed suicide, is still alive.
The outbreak came after unidentified attackers killed a Hindu religious leader and four other individuals. Hindus are blaming Christians for the deaths, while the Indian government cited Maoist rebels.
Source: Adventist News Network – http://news.adventist.org/data/2008/1222720930/index.html.en