VIOLENCE IN ORISSA:

AN APPEAL FOR SOLIDARITY

Situation The murder of Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati and four other persons allegedly by Maoists on Saturday, 23rd August in Kondmal district of Orissa was shocking. The Church leaders across the country condemned such brutal act and appealed for :

restrain and harmony in the community. But it is distressing to note that some organization have pointed the finger at community in Orissa for the alleged murder of Swami and his colleagues. Christian

The eruption of violence across the state now crossing the boundary of Kondmal district is worrying when the memory of violence on the eve of Christmas of 2007 in Kondmal district had not faded. The Viswa Hindu Parishad-Bajrang Dal to protest against the killing witnessed several churches and Prayer halls being burnt, ransacked and desecrated, Christian houses burnt and attacked, educational institutions and orphanage attacked. The cruelest was the burning of two persons alive including a woman. People had to flee to the forest. The extent of arson and violence could be envisaged from the list enclosed. Fresh violence of burning of houses again reported on Tuesday, the 26th.  The Law and Order situation in Orissa is volatile despite the effort of the state government in deploying police to control the situation.  Curfew had been clamped on Phulbani, Baliguda, Tumudibandh, G.Udayagiri, Nuagaon, Raiki, Phiringia.twelve hour bandh on Monday, 25th August called by

  A delegation of National United Christian Forum – a United Forum of National Council of Churches in India, Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India and Evangelical Fellowship of India apprised the Hon. Home Initiatives:minister of the Government of India on 25th Evening in New Delhi and urged for immediate action. Appeal for immediate intervention at this time of crisis has been sent to Her Excellency the President of India , Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Chairperson of National Commission for minorities, His Excellency the Governor of Orissa and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Orissa.of

Appeal: • We are seriously concerned about the safety and security of our people for no crimes of their own. It will be highly appropriated if letter of solidarity extending moral support could be sent to the local bishops and church leaders and, to the Government requesting for immediate intervention to bring the situation under control as per the addresses enclosed

• The National United Christian Forum appeals to Christian schools, Colleges and other educational institutions be closed on Friday, August 29, 2008 as a mark of solidarity with the suffering brothers and sisters in Orissa and as a protest against all acts of communal violence and atrocities on the Christian community and other innocent people. 

• We urge you to declare the Sunday, September 7, 2008 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting and hope that all our churches and church institutions will hold prayer services and memorial gatherings on this day, highlighting the need for our solidarity and prayer with all the victims facing most trying and difficult times.

Bishop D.K.SahuGeneral Secretary

National United Christian Forum (CBCI, NCCI and EFI Churches) Archbishop’s House, 1 Ashok Place, New Delhi – 110001 011- 23343457/ 23362058 Fax: 011- 23746575

NUCF condemns the violence in Orissa

National United Christian Forum (NUCF) denounces the communal violence that has erupted over the gruesome murder of a VHP leader and four others in Kandhamal district allegedly by Maoist groups. While condemning the dastardly act of murder we appeal to one and all to maintain communal harmony and peace.

The Christians were not at all involved in the incident. Nevertheless, there have been already over forty five instances of violence, including the burning alive of atleast five persons and over three hundred homes in Rupagaon, Kandhamal.

Appealing to the Christian community, Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao, President NUCF, said, “As a mark of our solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters and as a protest against all acts of communal violence and atrocities on the Christian community and other innocent people we request all our Christian schools, colleges and other educational institutions to be closed on Friday, August 29, 2008, and we wish that everywhere peaceful marches/rallies be conducted with black flags’ demonstration in a truly prayerful spirit.” We also declare Sunday, September 7 2008 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting and we hope that all our dioceses, our churches, parish communities and all church institutions/organizations will hold prayer services and memorial gatherings on this day, highlighting the need for our solidarity with all the victims and pray for all our Missionaries in India, who are facing most trying and difficult times for the sake of the Gospel.”

We appeal to the Central and State governments to take strong measures to curb violence caused by any group in the country and urge all political, social and religious organizations to desist from spreading communal hated which has already taken a heavy toll in our country.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell Secretary, NUCF

Some of atrocities reported:

• 3 numbers of churches are burnt in Dumerguda, Talsara, Sundergarh. • Catholic Church in Phulbani was burnt. • Baptist church in Phulbani was attacked and all furniture was burnt. • Houses (Christians) were attacked in Phulbani. • Pastor's and Asst.Pastor's houses were burnt in Phulbani. • 3 numbers of CNI churches were attacked in Kandhmal. • Church in Koraput was burnt. • Ichhapur Carmel School in Bhadrak was attacked and school buses were broken. • World Vision Office in Bhawanipatna was attacked and the office vehicle was burnt. • A family in Bhawanipatna was attacked. • A church in Jeypore was attacked' • Two schools and hostels in Muniguda were attacked and burnt. • The Catholic Church at Satyanagar, Bhubaneswar was attacked. • The CNI church in Chandipali, Bargarh was attacked. • A Pentecostal church in Sambalpur was attacked. • NISWASS and XIM in Bhubaneswar were attacked. • A church and about 20 numbers of houses were burnt and a person named Rasananda Pradhan was killed in Rupagaon, near Chakapada. • Christian houses in Nuasahi, Baliguda were damaged. • In Khuntapali, Padampur an Orphanage (Missionary House) was burnt, Father Edward was burnt, children were burnt and a nun was burnt alive. 22 numbers of inmates are untraceable. • The church and pastor's house in Padampur were burnt. • Church in Sukinda was burnt. • A brothern church in Gosaninuagaon, Berhampur was attacked. • Office of the Compassion East India (NGO) in Bhubaneswar was attacked. • A church in Bhimaguda, Nabarangpur was attacked. • School and hostel in Madupur, Sohela, Bargarh was attacked. • School bus of the De Paul School, Berhampur was burnt. • Mission India Church at Jayadev Vihar, Bhubaneswar was burnt. • William Carey School in Jatni, NH-5 was attacked, 5 numbers of school buses were broken. • Church in Bidanasi, Cuttack was attacked; the cross was broken and is being taken forcefully by the fundamentalists. • A nun named Mina Barua was raped and a Father named Thomas Clave was made naked. • Church in Rayagada was damaged and a Jeep was burnt. • Church in Raikia was burnt. • 400 houses gutted including 150 in Rupagam • 14 deaths including 2 in Mutungia, 1 in Petaponga, 1 in Borimunda, 3 in Katinya, 3 in Tianya, 3 in Adikuppa, 1 in Bakingio • Mission Compound in Baliguda gutted

Addresses:

1) Her Excellency Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil President of India Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi Fax: 011 – 23017290, 23017824 Email: <presidentofindia@rb.nic.in>

2) Dr. Manmohan Singh Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Room No. 152, South Block, Central Secretariat, South Block, New Delhi, 110001 (O) Tel : +91-11-23012312 (O) Fax: +91-11-23016857

3) Chief Minister Shri Navin Patnaik Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Nivas, Aerodrome Road, P.O.-Bhubaneswar, District-Khurda, Pin-751001 (Orissa) (O) Tel: +91-0674-2531100, 2535100, 2531500 (O) Fax: +91-674-2400100 Email:cmo@ori.nic.in

4) Shri Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare, Governor of Orissa Governor's House, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa (Off) 0674-2536111, 2536582, 2400056, 2410550, 2402550 (Fax) 0674-2404695

5) Shri. Mohamed Shafi Qureshi Chairperson, National Commission for Minorities 5th Floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan, Khan Market, New Delhi – 110 003

6) chairman-ncsc@nic.inDr. Buta Singh, Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes Phone: 011-24632298, 24620435 Fax: 011-24625378, 24634743, 24615014 Email: 

7) Rt. Rev. diocese@vsnl.netdoccni@vsnl.netbishopsamsondas@gmail.com Dr. Samson Das Bishop’s House, CNI Mission Road, Cuttack – 753 001, Orissa Tel: 0671-2300102, 3250268, 09337271726 Email: 

8) Rt. Rev. bishop_ckdas@rediffmail.comDr. C.K. Das Bishop’s House, CNI Mission Compound, Bolangir – 767 001, Orissa Tel./Fax: 06652-230625, 09861018966, 09437038411 Email: 

9) Rt. Rev. Bijay Kumar Nayak CNI Biocesan Office Mission Compound, Gudripori G-Udaigiri, Dist Kandhamal Phulbani – 762 001, Orissa Tel: 06847260569

10) Catholic Church Archbishop Raphael Cheenath Archbishop's House 9/16, Satyanagar P.O. Bhubaneshwar - 751 007, Orissa Tel: (0674) 25 02 234, 25 20 524, 25 01 817 (P) Fax: (0674) 25 01 817 E-mail: crcdc@satyam.net.in

11) Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church Rt. Rev. Anam Chandra Khosla Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church Central Office, Jeypore, Koraput – 764 001 Orissa Tel: 06854-231440 (Off), 230925 (Res) Fax: 06854-232637, 231989 Mobile: 09437125385 Email: jelchurch@yahoo.com

12)  Bengal-Orissa-Bihar Baptist Convention Rev. Daniel Das Executive Secretary, Christian Service Society Bengal-Orissa-Bihar Baptist Convention Sepoy Bazar, Midnapore (W) – 721 101 West Bengal