Sunday, August 31, 2008

"Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori; illi autem sunt in pace."

In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die; but they are in peace.

On the heels of the reports about the torture and murder of Fr Thomas in Andrha Pradesh, Sister Judy Murray of the Baltimore Carmel passed this message along from one of the Discalced Friars in India:

Indian Christians face a challenging time these day because of their faith.
There are several incidents in the past week.
Hope this update will help you understand the situation.
Prayers...
Fr. Russel Raj, OCD

ORISSA ANTI CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE UPDATE 25th August 2008

1. NUN REPORTED BURNT ALIVE: A Christian woman, possibly a nun, was reported burnt alive on 25th August 2008 by a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad mob which stormed the orphanage she ran in the district of Bargarh (Orissa). Police Superintendent Ashok Biswall has told this to news reporters. A priest who was at the orphanage was also badly hurt and is now being treated in hospital for multiple burns.

2. NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.

3. SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire.

4. BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties.

5. The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.

6. PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town.

7. MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: mobs attacked the Mother Teresa Brothersʼ residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients. Fundamentalists have targeted Priests, religious and also the Faithful in Pobingia also.

8. BHUBANESWAR BISHOP'S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishop's house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop's House, damaging windows.

9. DUBURI PARISH; Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing.

10. Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property, vehicle etc. damaged, burnt and looted.

11. A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged.

12. Christian institutions like St. Arnold's School (Kalinga Bihar), AND NISWASS report some damage.

13. BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe.

14. Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns' residence have been damaged.

15. Sambalpur HM Sisters' residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.

16. Padanpur: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.

17. Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.

18. SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.

19. VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.

20. KALAHANDI DISTRICT: houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed.

21. Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna.

22. Kharihar: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.

23. Aampani: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families.

24. Naktikani: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. The government has sent forces, it is reported.

[This list is compiled with assistance from Archbishop's House,
Bhubaneswar and other sources]