Open Doors: Indian

Violence in Orissa claims many lives

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”

– Matthew 5:9 [NIV]


A tide of anti-Christian violence has erupted in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, after suspected Maoists murdered Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, and four of his disciples on Saturday 23 August.

Over 3,000 police have been deployed but attacks on churches continue. Hundreds of Christians have fled their homes. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the violence as a “national disgrace”.

The number of suspected deaths has risen to 21 after a week of ongoing violence in Kandhamal district and other parts of Orissa. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that more than 114 anti-Christian attacks have taken place in various parts of the state.

GCIC President, Dr. Sajan K. George, stated: “The worst hit are the people in Kandhamal district, where more than 400 churches, 500 houses and many Christian institutions have been demolished. The people have fled to jungles for safety.”

A spokesman for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India said Christians in Orissa were living in fear and anxiety. “The law enforcing agencies have not been able to contain the violent elements that are still at large,” he said. “The violent mobs are destroying churches, orphanages, hostels of children, convents of religious women and houses of Christian families. There appears a sense of helplessness among the Christian community that has borne the brunt of the communal frenzy created by some fundamentalist organizations.”

Christians account for less than a million of Orissa’s 37 million population.

Source: Compass Direct / BBC

Prayer points:

  • Please pray for peace to prevail in Orissa. Pray that God would raise up ‘peacemakers’, men and women who are able to positively influence the deteriorating relationship between the Christian and Hindu communities
  • Please pray for our Open Doors local coordinator, who was only able to escape Baliguda fractionally before the colony he lived in was torched by a Hindu mob
  • Pray that Open Doors’ ministry in the region will be able to continue.

Thank you for praying with us.

Communications Team

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