Christians in Odisha intimidated, thrown out of homes

Father Singh cited a recent incident in which a Christian family who survived the massacres of 2008 was repeatedly intimidated and police inaction.

India
May 01 2014, 1:56 PM
Christians in Odisha intimidated, thrown out of homes
A Christian in her burned home in the Indian state of Odisha.

Christians in Kandhamal district of India’s eastern state of Odisha who survived religious violence in 2008 are being intimidated even today, said human rights activist Father Ajay Kumar Singh, a Catholic priest from the region.

Father Singh is the winner of a national award for his work among the victims of religious violence carried out by Hindu extremists in Kandhamal.

Father Singh cited a recent incident in which a Christian family who survived the massacres of 2008 was repeatedly intimidated and police inaction. He said, "The State has failed to protect and guarantee the basic rights to Christian citizens in Odisha." 

Praful Digal, a Catholic of the village of Budruka, had rebuilt his home with aid he received from the government funds for reconstruction. The radical Hindu groups attacked the new house and razed it to the ground. Father Pradosh Kumar Nayak, Rector of the Minor Seminary of St. Paul in Balliguda near the village of Budruka, confirmed the incident.

Following a complaint filed by the family, the police arrested Sudershan Mallick, Pabitra Mallick and Mallick Nageswar; but the three were inexplicably released.

Father Nayak said that this was the third house that the Digal family had built over the past six years, but Hindu radicals demolished all of them. "The last demolition shows that these groups are strong and determined to keep Christians out of the country," said Father Nayak, "Christians continue to lead a terrible life in Kandhamal district", where abuse and discrimination do not cease.

The Digal family was among the 834, whose houses were destroyed in the first round of anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal which took place in December 2007. The family took courage, returned to the village and rebuilt the house, which was again destroyed in the violence in August 2008. After years of exile, and having received compensation from the government in recent months, the Digal had decided to return to the village of origin and start a normal life again. But the new attack has shattered their hopes.

Source: Agenzia Fides