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News – Trouble in Orissa

November 2008

Trouble in Orissa

 

Persecution of Christians in Orissa, India, has continued apace with growing violence now spreading to 12 states, according to the All India Christian Council. Fifty-seven have been killed and 50,000 driven from their homes in Orissa state alone, in attacks by Hindu extremists.

     India’s national government is threatening to impose emergency rule on two states unless they stop anti-Christian violence which has raged for six weeks. The federal government issued an official warning to Orissa and Karnataka, accusing the Hindu nationalist BJP, which rules both states, of failing to curb the violence. Unless the two state governments take decisive action, ‘President’s rule’ will be introduced, in accordance with Article 356 of the constitution.

     As reported last month in ET, the assaults started after the assassination of Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates in August. Saraswati, who was a senior figure in the nationalist VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), had called for India to become a Hindu nation and strongly opposed the conversion of Hindus to Christianity.

     Although Maoist rebels allegedly admitted responsibility for the murders a week after the start of the anti-Christian attacks, the VHP and its allies claimed that Christians were responsible and called a protest that rapidly escalated into violence.

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