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Orissa India

September 2, 2008

My dear confreres,

am writing to ask you for your moral support and solidarity. As you may know, during the week of Aug. 23, 2008, violence and atrocities against Christians in the Eastern Indian state of Orissa, India has led to 27 deaths, 4014 houses of Christians destroyed or burnt and more than 50,000 people homeless living in the relief camps. A nun has been gang raped, religious men and women personnel humiliated, beaten, and tortured, some close to death.

Subject: Orissa India
From: "USC Provincial"
Date: Tue, September 2, 2008 10:08 am

Dear Confreres,

Some of you may be aware of the events taking place in the state of Orissa in India. There has been a terrible wave of violence against Christians and church institutions. Some of our own confreres have been injured in this violence. Richie Vaz has followed the situation carefully, and has asked for our support. Attached is a letter from Richie, explaining the situation. Also attached is a draft letter, which you can use or adapt in writing of your concern to Indian government officials. Please share these letters with your friends and others to get the word out. I encourage you to take action in defense of our brothers and sisters in Orissa!

peace,

Mark

Some of our SVD missionaries have suffered great injuries and a young woman who was working in one of our homes for children was burnt alive.

The murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on the night of August 23rd sparked this recent outbreak of violence. I wish to make you aware of the situation in case you are asked about it.

Finally, I ask you to take a moment to support our brothers and sisters in India. Attached is a sample letter that asks Indian federal leaders to protect the victims of this violence. Please use the letter to draft a message in your own words or copy and paste the sample letter into an email. For your convenience, I have listed fax number and email addresses of the Indian prime minister and the president, as well as the chief minister of Orissa and the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission in New Delhi.

Thank you for your time. In case the media contacts you, you may refer those calls to Theresa Carson province center at 847-412-1606. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can reach me at richievaz@svdmissions.org.

Yours in Christ,

Richie Vaz, SVD
Mission Office, Techny

Sample letter to Indian leaders

Please send letter to:

Madam Pratibha Patel
President of India
Fax: (0091) 11-2301 7290 or( 0091) 11-2301 7824
Email: presidentofindia@rb.nic.in

Please send copies to:

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
Fax: (0091) 11-2301 9545 or (0091) 11-2301 6857
Email: manmohan@alpha.nic.in
Or pmosb@pmo.nic.in

Mr. Naveen Patnaik
Chief Minister of Orissa
Fax: (0091) 674- 253 5110
Email: cmo@ori.nic.in

Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
Fax: (0091) 11- 2338 4863
Email: chairnhrc@nic.in

Re: Call to end pogrom of Christians in Orissa

Dear Madam President:

Through international media reports, I am aware of your attempts to stop the violence in Orissa. In spite of your efforts the carnage against Christian community continues not only in Kandhamal district but in several other districts of Orissa.

It is reported that 27 people are killed, 4014 houses destroyed, more than 50,000 people have left their homes and are either in the refugee camps or seeking shelter in the woods. Religious men and women personnel humiliated, beaten, tortured, some close to death. Churches, convents, orphanages, and other church institutions destroyed, burnt or looted.

I hope that in the coming weeks and months the Christian minority in Orissa receives compensation for their losses and that, under your protection, they once again feel secure in their homes and homeland. It was India’s concern for its minorities that had brought it respect internationally. I also hope that the perpetrators of this violence be brought to justice so that these atrocities end.

Peacefully yours,

[DATE]
[NAME]
[CITY, STATE, COUNTRY]