In a new attack in the district of Rayagada, Hindu fundamentalists have devastated the homes of Christians, forcing them to take refuge in the forest. The testimony of Nori Konjaka, one of the victims: "They can destroy our homes, but not our faith in Jesus".
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – There has been a new episode of violence by Hindu fundamentalists against Christians in Orissa. The attack took place on June 8 in the village of Sikapai, district of Rayagada.
According to local pastor Upajukta Singh, the village is home to 40 families 8 of them Christian. The extremists destroyed the homes of the Christians, then expelled them from their native village.
The mob came from a nearby center: "They could not tolerate the presence of these Christian families," explains Pastor Singh. Already when they went to get water from a well located a kilometre away, the Christian women were humiliated and forced to return home afraid and with empty containers.
"I admire their strong faith in Jesus despite pain, agony and fear in life they are continuing the faith which they have been practising for last fourteen years. The displaced faithful are now taking shelter in the forest," the pastor said.”
Nori Konjaka, one of the victims, confirms that the attackers "can destroy our homes, but not our faith in Jesus". A complaint was filed at the Kalyansingpur Police Station.
Father Purushottam Nayak, a priest of the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, adds: “The district of Rayagada is located in a mountainous region rich in natural resources, but also plagued by poverty caused by the lack of development. Self-motivated extremists attack the tiny Christian tribal community by denying religious freedom and the most basic human rights to these populations in Orissa, but also in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. Not even the pandemic has stopped them”.
Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) President Sajan K George told AsiaNews: "We strongly condemn the attack on Christians by Hindu extremists in the Rayagada district. The extremist right continues their reign of terror against the poor and vulnerable Christians of Orissa. Secular India has a constitution that should guarantee religious freedom, but we already know that the complaint presented to the Kalyansingpur police station will not bring justice to the victims and will not discourage further attacks and threats."