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Orissa Persecution

In a high level meeting of Orissa Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), VHP (Viswa Hindu Parishad), Bajrang Dal and RSS (Rastriya Swayam Sevak Sangh) held in Rourkela on 24th August, they have made a firm resolution to continue the work of demolishing all the Christian Institutions and Churches in the State, especially in the district of Sundargarh. They have planned to start the attacks in the western Orissa from Wednesday (27th August). This is the message given to us by Mr. Patric Minz – a police who went in civil dress to the meeting. Today, the same person conveyed the message that the attacks in the western Orissa will take off from Wednesday (27th August).

From: Sunil Damor
Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2008 8:24 PM
Subject: Fw: Orissa Persecution

Dear Friends, Greetings from Orissa. As you must have already heard there is again violence against Christians in Orissa, India. The Violence broke out after Laxmanananda the Vishva Hindu Parishad Leader in Kandhamal district of Orissa was killed by some Naxalites on 23rd evening. It is to be remembered that he was the main man behind the attacks on Christians during the last Christmas. Therefore the anti-christians elements are bleming the christians to be behind the murder. The government and the police have clearly said that it is the work of the naxalites. But stilll the tensions are high in the state and we all are at the mercy of the Lord because these days police is not of much help. we all christians especially all priests and sisters run the risk of life, and we need your prayerful support.

The list of destruction, beating, killing and humiliating is long. But find a short list in the attachment prepared by fr. Amalan.

with prayerful wishes

Fr. Sunil, SVD

From: Joseph Amalan
Date: Tuesday, 26 August, 2008, 10:36 PM

Dear Confreres, please open the attachment for the news about the persecution in Orissa Church. Requesting your prayers,

Yours in the Divine Word,

Joseph Amalan, SVD

(1) Our Confrere, Fr. Edward Sequeira, SVD in Padampur (Bargarh District) and the Rajani Majhi, the warden/ cook of the hostel (which is refered to as orphanage in the newspapers) were very badly beaten up locked up in Fr. Eddie’s room and sent fire. Fr. Eddie locked himself in the bathroom and managed survive. A well wisher of Fr. Eddie took him the nearest sub-divisional hospital at Padampur. His condition was very serious. With the help of the higher Government official, he is brought to the Medical College Hospital at Burla this morning. He is better now.

(2) Another confrere, Fr. Simon Lakra and another Jesuit priest who was with him in Duburi, were chased, caught and taken by the miscreants. They were released and they reached back to the parish by 3.00 AM today. Fr. Joe Perumbil is alright in Dubri and Fr. Victor Soreng is asked to go from Jajpur Road and stay with Fr. Perumbil.

(3) The Catholic Church of Madhupur, Parish Residence and the HM Sisters’ Convent in Madhupur (Sambalpur Diocese), a mission started by Fr. Alois Kanski in 1954, were set on fire on 24th afternoon. The Police told the sisters and the hostel girls to run away. So they left the house and ran into nearby village. The Fathers with the hostel boys also did the same. They are all safe. One of our confere, Fr. Nirmal, who is in Madhupur for language study is also safe. The sisters and girls have managed to reach the neighbouring parish in Chhatisgarh – Chuipalli where the HMs are there. The fathers and boys also have come back to the house last midnight.

(4) The Pastoral Centre of the Archdiocese of Bhubaneswar at Konjamendi, a huge building is totally demolished by blasting it with bombs.

(5) Jana Vikas Kendra, a social service centre at Konjamendi was also set on fire.

(6) The director of the Pastoral centre, Fr. Thomas Chellan (a diocesan priest) and Sr. Meena Barwa, HM who ran away and hid themselves in a Catholic house nearby, were caught on 25th and beaten up thoroughly; Fr. Thomas Chellan was stripped and paraded and before they could be torched by fire the Police rescued them and they are now in Balliguda parish.

(7) The new church in Phulbani and few other churches are vandalized and set fire.

(8) One German Lutheran Church near Gaibira parish in the diocese of Rourkela was set on fire on 23rd night itself as soon as the news of the killing of the Swami was flashed in the TV news.

Please appeal to all the Bishops and Major Superiors of Orissa to seek the help of the All India Bishops (CBCI) and in solidarity with the persecuted Church of Orissa, they could call for a close of all the educational institutions in the country, so that, the students’ parents of good will also show some concern and demand the stop of all these atrocities. The earlier we do the better it will be to stop all the planned attacks by the anti-social wings.

Thanking you and requesting your prayers,

Fr. Joseph Amalan, SVD
Parish Priest, Sundargarh