India to Observe Kandhamal Day, 'Worst Attack Against Christians in 2008'

Published 25 August 2017  |  
Christian Today India
Hundreds of Christians and their supporters gathered at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on the 6th Anniversary of 2008 Kandhamal Anti-Christian Violence in Odisha.

This Aug. 25 is the ninth anniversary of pogroms against Christians in Kandhamal, Odisha. More than 10,000 people from different faith and different walks of life will unite together to show solidarity and love to the victims of the massacres carried out by Hindu extremists against Christians in 2008.

The National Solidarity Forum, a platform for Indian civil society born in the aftermath of the violent incidents against Christians, has asked all Indians to observe the 'Kandhamal Day'.

"My prayer is that Kandhamal Day is remembered as a people's movement and that the struggle, the suffering of our people - the lost, the last and the least – are witnesses of the faith for everyone," said Msgr John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

On Aug. 25, 2008, ten days from the Independence Day, the country witnessed the worst sectarian violence against Christians in Kandhamal.

Over 395 churches and worship places which belonged to the tribal Christians and Dalit Christians were destroyed, around 6,500 houses were demolished, over 100 people were killed, over 40 women were subjected to rape, molestation and humiliation, and several educational, social service and health institutions were ruined and looted. Over 56,000 people were displaced. Since then, many incidents of forced conversion to Hinduism by the Sangh Parivar have been reported.

"This organized communal attack which was the biggest in the history of Christian community during the last three centuries, also spread to different parts of Odisha and other states as well. The compensation provided by the Government for the victims and survivors of Kandhamal has been minimal," read a statement from the forum.

The archbishop and the members of the forum ask for the implementation of Supreme Court verdict of Aug 2, 2016.

"[The Supreme Court of India] have ordered the immediate reopening of cases [regarding Kandhamal] where the absolutions are not justified by the facts, defined compensation granted as insignificant and established compensation for destroyed houses and mourning families. Judges have ordered higher payments for damages and injuries due to violence," read the statement made.

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