Udaigiri, India – “Christians in the district of Kandhamal are still the innocent victims of intimidation and violence. The government does nothing to help their rehabilitation, after the religious violence in 2008, and they continue to live in fear. On the other hand, the thousands of complaints filed against assailants have served no purpose: the perpetrators of the massacre still roam freely across the State of Orissa”.
This is the charge of President of the Global Council of Indian Christians, Sajan K George, who has been following the situation of persecuted Christians in India for years. The Council, which unites Catholics and Protestants, provides legal and material aid to the population affected by persecution.
Speaking yesterday to local media, George added: "We need a system that helps the faithful to return to normal life. They need a job and a house, given that in order to avoid death, the inhabitants of 14 villages were forced to flee their homes and now live in tents. The government must intervene, to see justice is done”.
The violence erupted in Kandhamal district in the summer of 2008, resulting in casualties among both the clergy and the faithful. The false charge of proselytism was used to destroy Churches and schools run by local Christians, who were then forced by the Hindu community to abandon their homeland to seek refuge elsewhere.
During the clashes 5347 houses were destroyed and 75 people lost their lives in the name of their religion or ethnicity. Over 50 thousand people were forced to emigrate, becoming refugees in their homeland. Immediately after the riots, the victims lodged 3232 complaints in different police stations in the district. Of these only 832 were accepted: 89 persons were sentenced to minor penalties, while other 251 were released immediately.