I recall seeing a number of Indian bishops at Lambeth and I’ve been watching the news on India with some deeper interest. The violence against Christians seems to be continuing.
I suppose if Christians are going to be persecuted and killed, this reason is an admirable one for the Christians—it makes me quietly honored to be fellow Christians with them: “Orissa has long suffered from government neglect, and Christian missionaries provide services, including schooling, much better than most residents receive from the government.”
Those who came to attack Christians here early last week set their trap well, residents say.
First, they built makeshift barricades of trees and small boulders along the roads leading into this village, apparently to stop the police from intervening.
Then, villagers say, the attackers went on a rampage. Chanting “Kill these pigs” and “All Hindus are brothers,” the mob began breaking into homes that displayed posters of Jesus, stealing valuables and eventually burning the buildings. When they found residents who had not fled to the nearby jungle, they beat them with sticks or maimed them with axes and left them to die.
A local official said three people died as a result of the attack on Aug. 25. The carefully placed roadblocks accomplished their purpose; residents say a full day passed before help arrived.
One villager, Asha Lata Nayak, said, “I saw the mob carrying sticks, axes, swords, knives and small guns. They first demolished the village church and later Christian houses. Nobody came forward to help us.”
The scene in Tiangia was repeated in villages throughout the Kandhamal district and several other areas of Orissa, a remote and destitute state in eastern India, witnesses and the police said. The violence, which left at least 16 dead, was among the worst in decades against Christians in this Hindu-dominated nation and appears to have been fueled, at least in part, by discontent at a time when the gap between India’s haves and have-nots is growing.
Orissa has long suffered from government neglect, and Christian missionaries provide services, including schooling, much better than most residents receive from the government. While that has caused friction before, the stakes are higher now that better-educated people have more of a chance of joining the economic boom.