Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Faith Under Fire: Violence in Orissa

From Gospel for Asia:

Increasing attacks on Gospel for Asia-related work in Orissa have resulted in the deaths of at least six local believers since radical mobs went on a rampage after the murder of a leading anti-Christian activist. Saturday night, Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati, a top leader of the VHP (World Hindu Council), was killed in an attack by 20 men suspected of being Maoist rebels. The Maoists had earlier warned the swami to leave the area. The attack, which included gunfire and a hand grenade, also killed four other people.

GFA President K.P. Yohannan strongly condemned the gruesome killing of Swami Laxamanananda and demanded that those who were guilty should be punished. Because the swami was a leading opponent of Christian work in India, his followers in the ultra-fundamentalist VHP have used his murder to incite hundreds of their followers to go on a rampage of death and destruction across several districts in India's Orissa state.

According to the latest reports, at least six Christians who attended GFA-related churches have been killed. The latest detailed reports list more than 15 GFA-related church buildings destroyed and at least 110 church members' homes burned to the ground. Other Christian groups have also suffered, with many deaths reported and attacks on ministers and missionaries being widespread. There are even reports of Catholic nuns being gang raped and murdered by the extremists.

Click here for the full story. PRAY for the Christians in the Indian state of Orissa.

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