Thursday, November 06, 2008

Orissa's Christians prepare for more violence

Orissa's Christians, ravaged by more than two months of violence, are braced for another wave of attacks as suspected Maoists killed a local worker of the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) yesterday. According to The Indian Express, Dhanu Pradhan, an RSS activist said to be on the Maoists’ hit list, was shot by three suspected Maoists in Kumharigaon village in Kandhamal at 1 p.m .

Orissa's Christians have been subjected to attacks since late August when Laxmanananda Saraswati, a leader of the Hindu extremist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council or VHP), was killed by a Maoist group that claimed responsibility.  Nevertheless, the VHP blamed local Christians for the killing.  Already family members of Pradhan are alleging that Christians were behind his killing too. Dhanu Pradhan was one of the leaders who spearheaded the wave of violence by Hindus against Christians in Kandhamal district last December.

Since late August thousands of Christians have been brutally beaten and left homeless, women have been raped, uncounted homes and churches have been burned down, and relief aid has been stolen. Some reports claim that as many as 500 have been killed in the riots.

Please pray urgently for this dangerous situation.

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