Kandhamal priests seek police protection ahead of Christmas

December 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Bhubaneswar, December 22, 2016: Priests of Kandhamal in Odisha state in eastern India have requested for police protection for churches across the district to ensure Christmas celebration.

The request came just days before the world is preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ on December 25.

Kandhamal was the epicenter of the worst anti-Christian violence modern India witnessed starting with Christmas season in 2007.

The request was made in a letter Father Nobokishore Digal, assistant parish priest of Christ the King Parish in Kandhamal headquarters of Phulbani wrote on December 20 to Collector Reghu G, the highest government official in the district.

“As we are going to celebrate one of the major feasts in Christianity that is Christmas, we would like to request your good self to ensure safety and security and peaceful celebration of Christmas in all the Churches of Odisha, especially in Kandhamal district which is a sensitive place during the Christmas celebration,” the letter says.

The priest also recalled that in the past a tribal outfit ‘Kandhamal Kui Samaj Coordination Committee’ had created havoc and unnecessary fear among Christians in Kandhamal district by declaring a general shut down on December 24 and 25. The ulterior motive for the strike was to disrupt Christmas celebrations, he added.

On behalf of the Catholic Church in Kandhamal district, Father Digal urged the government to ensure that untoward incident happens at the Christmas Vigil on December 24 and Christmas Day on December 25.

Fr Digal told Matters India that they sent the application as they feared problems during Christmas time.

The collector has assured that the district administration would do the needful, the priest said.

A week ago, Father Prodosh Chandra Nayak, parish priest of Our Lady of Charity, Raikia, a town in Kandhamal, also submitted an application at a local police station seeking police protection during Christmas celebration.

Anti-Christian persecution in 2008 claimed more than 100 Christians’ lives and destroyed more than 300 churches and Christian homes and left 56,000 Christians homeless.

Some areas of Odisha, especially Kandhamal, become tense on important Christian feasts such as Christmas.

– matters india

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