Orissa: Hindu fundamentalists block Catholic church

March 21, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-india, Orissa

persecution in OrissaOdisha, March 03, 2014: A group of radicals threaten a catechist and his father in the village of Gudrikia. The area suffered major damages in the 2008anti-Christian pogrom. Since then, the local Christian minority has been living in fear.

A group of Hindu fundamentalists yesterday blocked the construction of a Catholic chapel in the village of Gudrikia, in the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar (Kandhamal District, Orissa), this according to a local lawyer, Ramakant Parichha, who spoke about it to AsiaNews.

The incident renewed fears and tensions in the village, which was badly hit in theanti-Christian pogroms that shook Orissa in 2008.

The incident apparently occurred at around nine o’clock pm, when the attackers threatened a number of Catholics and carried away the stones they had brought to start the work.

According to local sources, the extremist group threatened Bhagawan Pradhan, 44, a catechist in the village, and his father Danardan Pradhan, 63.

The two Catholics said that they are “frightened” but still plan to file as soon as possible a complaint about what had happened.

During the 2008 anti-Christian pogrom, the village church and the shrine were destroyed.

On that occasion, Mathew Nayak, a young clergyman in the (Anglican) Church of North India who had come to visit his family, was burnt alive in the church where he had taken refuge.

Another local Christian, Lalita Digal, was taken away and murdered, her body never found.

Since then, Catholics and other Christians have been denied free access to local land and forest.

Hindu fundamentalists now farm the land where the church once stood. In November 2013, some Christian leaders went to the police to complain about it, but the latter refused to register their case.

In addition, each year radical groups organise Ram Navami celebrations (honouring the birth of Rama) near the shrine’s ruins.

– asianews

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