"Kandhamal Martyrs Day" marked for the victims of Anti-Christian Violence in Odisha

Published 10 September 2015  |  
Christian Today India
File photo of Dr. John Dayal, eminent journalist and activist speaking for the victims of 2008 Kandhamal Anti-Christian Violence on its 6th Anniversary during the solidarity and protest event held at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi on Monday, 25th August 2014.

Sambalpur: The regional council of Bishops in Odisha have decided to dedicate a day in August every year in remembrance of the victims of the anti-Christian riots in Kandhamal, Odisha.

The decision was taken by Archbishop John Barwa of Bhubaneswar along with other bishops in an annual meeting on August 31 in Sambhalpur.

The "Kandhamal Martyrs Day" as it will be called is to remember those Christians who lost their lives in an insane and cowardly act which left burnt down churches, destroyed and ransacked houses, pillaged orphanages and left over 50,000 tribal Christian displaced in the primarily tribal belt of Odisha.

Though the exact date of remembrance has not been finalized yet, but it will be done "after due consultation with all stakeholders", Archbishop Barwa said.

Welcoming this decision, Dr John Dayal of All India Christian Council said, "We must begin work to see that the dead of Kandhamal 2008 are declared 'Martyrs to the faith'. Their mass murder builds them a place in the heart of every Christian in India,"

Sambalpur Bishop Niranjan Sualsingh said that the Martyr's Day will "strengthen peoples' faith and enable them to live a life of Christian witness in the world according to the principles of Jesus and his gospel."

Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur said that those killed in Kandhamal violence, "are to be recognized as martyrs for sacrificing their lives for their faith and witnessing Christ."

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