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Lakkisetti Praveen, Hyderabad says,
We shall overcome
By Lakkisetti Praveen Kumar
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Hyderabad, Aug. 28. Hyderabad, August 28: God Bless Orissa! These are the words that are flowing from the hearts of the people. The communal violence has taken a cruel shape. Exactly, eight months ago, Kandhamal district in Orissa experienced violence. It was just a day after Christmas. That was the first episode. Right now, eight months after, its not only Kandhamal but entire Orissa is buring in the flames of communal violence that shattered the situation of Christians in Orissa. Right now, our only prayer is ``God Bless Orissa`` with a hope that ``We shall overcome.``

Following the assasination of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswathi,series of incidents have occured in the districts of Kandhamal, Ghajapathi, Udagagiri. The situation is moving from bad to worse. What have we done to suffer all these violence? Several incidents of violence took place since December 26th 2007, besides many other atrosities that were done against Christians earlier.
ORISSA: ANTI CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE UPDATE TILL 25TH AUGUST 2008
1. WOMAN REPORTED BURNT ALIVE: A Christian woman was reported burnt alive on 25th August 2008 by a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad mob which stormed the orphanage she ran in the district of Bargarh (Orissa). Police Superintendent Ashok Biswall has told this to news reporters. A priest who was at the orphanage was also badly hurt and is now being treated in hospital for multiple burns.
2. NUN MOLESTED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.
3. SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a dishevelled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire.
4. BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008 evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties.
5. The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.
6. PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town.
7. MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: mobs attacked the Mother Teresa Brothers` residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients. Fundamentalists have targeted Priests, religious and also the Faithful in Pobingia also.
8. BHUBANESWAR BISHOP`S HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishop`s house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishop`s House, damaging windows.
9. DUBURI PARISH; Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing.
10. Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property, vehicle etc. damaged, burnt and looted.
11. A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged.
12. Christian institutions like St. Arnold`s School (Kalinga Bihar), AND NISWASS report some damage.
13. BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe.
14. Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nuns` residence have been damaged.
15. Sambalpur HM Sister`s residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.
16. Padanpur: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.
17. Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.
18. SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, Narayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.
19. VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.
20. KALAHANDI DISTRICT: houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed.
21. Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna.
22. Kharihar: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.
23. Aampani: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families.
24. Naktikani: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. The government has sent forces, it is reported.

The situation as of now seems as if the state of Orissa doesn`t seem to be welcoming Christ and His message? But will the Message be stopped? Christ`s Kingdom will all the more grow with renewed vigour. History has proved that.

Any Christian suffers, the effect is on all. Today, it is Orissa. Tomorrow it could be any where. Orissa stands in need of our prayers and solidarity right now. As our fellow-Christians suffer, let us pray that God may bless Orissa to OVercome all the violence.

We have a God who is with us.  For the Scripture says ``I will turn their mourning into joy, I will console them, give gladness for grief. The priests I will again feed with plenty, and my people shall be filled with my blessings.`` (Jer 31:14)
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