Pray for Christians and All People in Orissa

It began on Saturday, August 23. Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was shot along with four others in an attack in the Kandhamal district of India.

In response, waves of violence have been launched against Christians in the state of Orissa. A prominent Maoist leader has claimed that Hindu leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati was killed by Maoists. Church leaders across Indian have condemned the murders and appealed for restrain and harmony in the community.

However, Hindu mobs have blamed Christians. In a petition filed with the National Human Rights commission, the Utkal Christian Council in Orissa has alleged that:

  • Several churches and prayer halls have been torched.
  • Several educational Institutions, Christian shops and houses have been damaged and ransacked.
  • Places of worships have been desecrated, women have been raped and Christian priests tortured.
  • Christians have been burnt alive.

The BBC reports that more than 10,000 Christians have been displaced and that the number of dead has risen to 20 (other sources cite a higher death toll).

Many of the Christians are Dalits – the lowest caste, formerly called "Untouchables." A point of contention between Hindus and Christians is the conversion of Dalits with Hindus claiming that Christians offer bribes to encourage people to convert.

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders have expressed our concern and solidarity to our church partners in India and called Presbyterians to prayer. The Church of North India is our partner church in the state of Orissa.

Further ideas for support will be shared as they are identified.

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