Easter in Orissa

Not such a good Easter time in Orissa.

I have been trying to keep up to date with the awful things that have been happening it the Indian region of Orissa where many Christians have been killed. Hundreds of churches have been destroyed and church leaders have been targeted. It is said to be the worst anti-Christian rioting in India since independence.

But where have the authorities been in all of this? They now seen to be acting but it has taken them a long time before they were stirred to action. I have had reports of police standing by watching the violence and killings.

Christians are finding it difficult to find employment and Christian children are being prevented from going to school.

Thousands of Christians are living in makeshift camps, while their former neighbours are refusing to let them go back to their homes.

Only if they renounce their faith, convert to Hinduism, and drop charges against anyone allegedly involved in last year’s pogrom will they be allowed to return.

A BJP candidate, Ashok Sahu, insists that it is the Hindus, who face discrimination. Hundreds have been arrested, he says, since last year’s riots. This is a fiction in particular bad taste, he went on to say, “I don’t justify violence, but there are two types of violence,” he explains. “One is planned violence and the other is spontaneous violence.”

“A maximum number of Christians were killed, yes it is a fact, but why? The Hindu sense of dignity has come to the surface in a spontaneous manner and they want to protect that sense of dignity.”

Ashok Sahu is now facing charges for inciting hatred against Christians in one of his campaign speeches. He insists that he is the victim of a political conspiracy.

“If I’m arrested,” he warns, “a volcano will erupt.”

Two days after issuing his warning, Mr Sahu was taken into custody by Orissa police.

About time too!

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