Churches in India mark the Kandhamal Day

Published 27 August 2019  |  
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Churches across India marked the Kandhamal Day on August 25 commemorating the 11th anniversary of the country's worst event of Christian persecution.

On August 25, 2008, an uproar came upon the poor Christian minorities of Kandhamal, a district in Odisha. Radical Hindus attacked them for the murder of Hindu leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati even after the Maoist guerillas in the area claimed the assassination of the leader.

The Hindu extremists led a series of riots for months that left roughly 100 people dead, thousands injured, 300 churches and 6,000 homes destroyed, and 50,000 people displaced. Many others died of hunger and snakebites when they were hiding in nearby forests.

Even after 11 years, Kandhamal people are growing in faith with absolute trust in God. They are ready to face challenges without any fear.

Barwa, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar told, "They burnt our people, our houses, our churches, but the fire of the Holy Spirit filled our people with a burning love for Jesus and the Church."

Parishes of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar offered special prayer services for those who died in Kandhamal violence in 2008.

"It is not to forget about the sacrifice and faith of our simple faithful in Christ. They shall ever be inspiring every person to remain firm in loving faith to Jesus Christ in the face of persecution and trials of life on earth," said Father Udayanath Bishoyi, parish priest of Christ the King Parish, Phulbani.

"For faith life in Jesus has sown seed of love that continues to transform individuals and communities. The faith chronicle of Kandhamal Christians records it and visible as any anthropologist would make surveys or research. Every prayer in this moment calls for peace and reconciliation in the hills," he added.

Following the event, over 3,300 complaints were made but 88 percent of the accused were free from the charge of an offense, local sources say.

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