India: Violent attacks on Christians in Orissa

ACPP-Hotline Asia
Background, resources and actions to address the violence and vandalism carried out by Hindu fundamentalists in Orissa state, India. ACPP-Hotline Asia summarizes:
"Over the Christmas holidays, atrocities have been committed against Christians in Kandhamal district and other areas in Orissa state of India. The alarming situation of communal violence, attacks on the Christian community and destruction and burning of houses and churches started on 24 December 2007 and has since led to deaths, injuries and thousands left homeless or had to take shelter in the forest, and many still live in anxiety and fear.
Church leaders and activists, led by Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi and Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, went to meet the Chief Minister of Orissa to report the state of destruction and to demand constitutional assurances. Fact-finding was also undertaken in the affected areas.

We would like to share a report on the personal account of Archbishop Cheenath himself, courtesy of the National Commission for Justice, Peace and Development (NCJPD) of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), on his survey and analysis of the situation (

There is still great concern that even urgent relief work could not reach the victims and people continue to live in fear, as no attackers have been punished even though most of the attacks took place in front of the police. The state government has apparently failed to protect its people against Hindu fundamentalist groups, with local groups believe could continue to threaten religious minorities with the support of political parties.

In response, the NCJPD has issued an appeal ( to all Bishops, Religious Superiors and Church personnel in India to urge them to respond to the issue through peace marches and signature campaigns.

In relation to this, NCJPD is also holding a Consultation on "Response to growing and widespread attacks on Christians in India" to review the present situation and to plan future course of action.

We hope that this information will give you better understanding on the background of the situation in Orissa, as well as violence against religious minorities in the country. With such background, we hope that you could reflect and take prompt action when you are called to respond to Urgent Appeals on this issue in the near future.

Thank you for your attention."

Yours sincerely,

ACPP-Hotline Asia