News

Orissa Again Under Attack

September 12, 2008

Fervent Prayer Urgently Requested by Persecuted Christians Caught in Midst of Civil Conflict

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

Once again, Christians in the Kandhmal District of Orissa State have come under attack. The motivation is unclear, but a group of burgeoning Communist insurgents is suspected of attacking and killing Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader, Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his associates on Saturday, August 23, 2008. VHP is an organization which aims to promote and strengthen the Hindu society in India.

Various Hindu nationalist groups are trying to blame local Christians for these outrageous acts. They claim this must have been in retaliation for the "Black Christmas" persecution that began December 24, 2007. At that time 90 churches were destroyed and 700 homes burned – acts instigated by the now deceased VHP leader, Swami Laxmananda Saraswati.

But a Christian ministry in India contacted Christian Aid advising that Christians have gone on record making a public announcement which denounces these acts of hate and destruction. This ministry leader has also solicited action from all concerned individuals to make appeals to the Prime Minister of India and other notable officials to stop the violence.

In the meantime, riots continue to erupt all over Orissa by Hindu extremists believing the lie. It has been over two weeks and still the rampage goes on - throughout 14 districts in Orissa. Thousands of people are fleeing into the forests and hills to escape beatings, killings, looting, and the massive destruction of homes, property and churches. There was no time to pack any kind of provisions – they fled with only the clothes on their backs. Men and women, old and young, some carrying babies, have been spending sleepless nights on the dark grounds of the forests, destitute of even the barest necessities. The government has, by now, established some relief camps in certain areas, but it is not enough. Also, many have fled into the most remote areas of the wilderness and are very frightened of being attacked. So far, 300 villages were attacked, 6000 houses have been burned, and the number of Christians who have been killed is at about 60.

A native missionary known to Christian Aid sent a plea asking for help provide "first phase" emergency provisions for about 2,000 Christian families. These goods (costing about $100) will consist of mosquito nets, bedding, soap, change of clothing, cooking utensils and emergency rations for each family. He is praying that Christian Aid will once again be able to help the persecuted Christians in Orissa at least until this violence is ended.

These believers are being attacked for no other reason than their being Christian. Pray for the protection of believers in Kandhamal and other parts of Orissa.

Pray also that the truth will prevail – politically and spiritually. Pray against the powers of wickedness and rulers of darkness wreaking havoc and causing confusion among these people. And pray that eyes will finally be opened by those who have been resistant to the gospel message.

SC: WEBCAM