|Pray for believers in Orissa state!|
In the latest incident on February 23, about 60 assailants from the Hindu extremist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in Murliguda damaged the eardrums of Bhadan Hontal and beat Markari Soma until he fell unconscious, according to a report by the Malkangiri District Christian Manch (MDCM).
Christian women, some pregnant, as well as children were among those injured in the attacks on churches. The spate of attacks began on December 8, in Katanpali village, when about 35 Hindu extremists stormed the house of Pastor Mark Markani and beat him.
On December 25, some 200 extremists barged into a Christmas Day celebration at a church in Koyi Konda village, beat the worshippers and destroyed furniture. About 10 houses belonging to Christians and their crops were destroyed.
The Christians filed a police complaint, but no action was taken.
Christians have suffered midnight raids on prayer meetings in which they have been beaten, resulting in some Christians fleeing their homes and going into hiding. At least four families have left their village and not returned due to extremist warnings, reported the MDCM.
At the same time, Hindu extremists have forced about 25 people to convert to Hinduism in the Mottu area.
Church leaders said increased attacks on Christians are a symptom of fear and envy among Hindu extremists, who perceive that Christianity is spreading in many areas and who mistake Christian social and educational ministries as illegally “luring” people to convert.
The local Christian community has met with various district authorities to address the situation, including the chief minister.
On March 3, area Christian leaders again met with the area district collector, who assured them that immediate action would be taken. Meanwhile, village Christians received rice and some essential items from the administration.
Area Christians fear that Malkangiri may see the same kind of eruption of violence that killed at least 100 people in Kandhamal district. Particularly since the same officials have been transferred from Kandhamal to Malkangiri district.