Christians observes Anniversary of Kandhamal Anti-Christian Violence

Christians observes Anniversary of Kandhamal Anti-Christian ViolenceThe Christian Organisations in India are planning to organise a solidarity programme with the victims of the Kandhamal anti-Christian violence on its 6th Anniversary at its Capital. The solidarity programme named 'Kandhamal: Never Again' event will be held from 3:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 25, 2014 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to mark the sixth year anniversary of communal violence against Christians in Orissa state's Kandhamal district. The organisers have invited artists, intellectuals, NGOs, Civil Society groups and likeminded people to join in event to show their support and solidarity with the victims.

Kandhamal anti-Christian violence

The Kandhamal District in Odisha State witnessed unprecedented wave of violence against Christian community in 2008 starting on August 25th after Swami Laxmananand along with his four followers was killed on August 23, 2008 although Maoist militants had publicly announced that they were responsible for the crime. The Kandhamal communal violence claimed an estimated 100 lives, displacing around 56,000 people and saw the destruction of 295 churches and worship places. Despite the level of violence, few suspects have been convicted. Most have either been dismissed or acquitted, leading to outcry from human right activists.

Solidarity programme

The event will be jointly organised by Young Woman Christian Association (YWCA), Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI), National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) will stand in solidarity with the victims on the above mentioned date.
The organisers in their online press hand out did mention the systematic anti-Christian violence which had begun some years earlier, which include the attack on the villagers of Kattingia in 1986 in Kandhamal, a series of burning of 19 churches in 1986-87 in Kandhamal, the Catholic Health Centre of India near Latur (1996), burning of Bibles and attacks on the Christian congregations. Bishop Humphrey Southern of Repton, who chairs the Derbyshire Partnership of Churches with the Church of North India, said in a statement that “Kandhamal Day is being observed to raise greater awareness of the communal violence in Orissa."
"But most shocking was the burning alive of Pastor Graham Steward Stains (1999, January) along with his two minor sons -- Philip and Timothy, aged 9 and 7 years, who were sleeping in a jeep after a village festival," the statement noted. The statement also blamed a section of media for not highlighting enough the persecution of the minority Christians. "The apathy in highlighting these core issues, deprivations, by a section of media was appalling. At the same time, by word of mouth the propaganda against Christian Missionaries was intensified," it stated.
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