Odisha: Christian family’s home destroyed for third time by Hindu extremist

May 21, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Odisha, May 12, 2014: A Christian family have been left devastated after their home in Kandhamal was destroyed for the third time by Hindu extremists.

Barnabas is building new homes for persecuted Christians in India

Barnabas is building new homes for persecuted Christians in India

The Digals of Budruka village were among hundreds of Christian families to lose their home in the outbreak of horrendous anti-Christian violence in December 2007 when Hindus rampaged through villages, torching houses and churches.

The Digals returned to the village two months later and rebuilt their house, but in August 2008 the attacks resumed with even greater ferocity, and their second home was also destroyed.

Around 60,000 Christians became homeless as a result of the violence; 91 lost their lives, and around 18,000 were wounded.

The Digals left Budruka and went to stay with relatives in another village. They rebuilt their home in Budruka again this year, having received financial aid from the government. But a week before Easter, it was attacked and destroyed.

Three people were arrested in connection with the incident but were subsequently released.

A local church leader said that the Digals were in tears as their third home was destroyed, shattering their hopes of being able to return to their village and cultivate their land.

The latest incident highlights the ongoing threat to Christians in Orissa (Odisha) state. At the time of the 2007-08 violence, Christians were told by their Hindu attackers, “Come back Hindu or don’t come back at all,” and it seems that some Hindus are determined to keep Christians away.

Three Dalit Christian families have also been driven out of their village in Orissa by the hundred or so Hindu families who live there. The Hindus confiscated the Christians’ possessions, polluted their water well and banned them from interacting with other residents.

The Christians have been warned that their homes will be torn down, the land they own seized and their names struck off a government list for land allotment.

Many Christian families remain homeless following the 2007-08 violence. Barnabas Fund has been providing new homes and repairing damaged ones for hundreds of Christian families affected.

The outcome of the current general election, the results of which are expected to be announced on Friday (16 May), could prove ominous for the country’s Christians if the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defeats the ruling, secular Congress party as predicted.

The BJP has given support to extremist groups that attack Christians; it was in power in Orissa when the 2007-08 violence took place there. Leader Narendra Modi has done little to reassure the Christian community. When asked what steps he would take to ensure no churches were attacked if he became prime minister, Modi said, “I have never heard of such incidents taking place”

– barnabas team

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