Quelling Anti-Christian Violence In India



    
    Open Doors Launches New Advocacy Campaign To Help Persecuted Believers In
    Orissa, India
    

    MISSISSAGUA, ON, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - Following the assassination of Hindu
leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008 in Orissa State, India,
Hindu leaders accused Christians and called for revenge.
    The government made some security arrangements to safeguard Christian
churches and places of worship, but inadequate government forces were not able
to prevent the killings of Christians and damage to their properties. By Sept.
4, according to Compass Direct News, Christian leaders reported 100 deaths,
most of them Christians, while an estimated 40,000 people have taken refuge in
forests and 20,000 persons have fled to 10 government relief camps. Christians
in Orissa are still being targeted systematically by Hindu militants while the
state and central governments are doing little to stop the violence.
    A Maoist group later claimed responsibility for killing Saraswati and
four of his disciples August 23, saying that fanatical Hindus' claims that
Christians murdered him were "lies."
    Christians only comprise 2.4 percent of the population in Orissa, or
approximately 89,000 of the total of 3.7 million people. Hindus make up a
majority of the citizens.
    Given the ongoing violence against Christians in several districts of
Orissa state and the lack of an adequate and decisive response of the
authorities to protect the Christians, Open Doors is holding the Indian
government accountable. Open Doors is urging the government to do its utmost
to restore peace and stability in the region. Open Doors is also asking
supporters to join in a advocacy campaign to help these suffering Christians
in Orissa.
    Open Doors is asking supporters to contact the Indian High Commisson at
613-744-0888 and ask them to provide adequate protection for Christians in
Orissa and to ensure justice and compensation to the victims of the violent
attacks.
    "The outburst of religiously motivated violence that followed the call
for retaliation has claimed the lives of at least 100 people, most of them
Christians, and destroyed hundreds of churches and homes." said Paul Johnson
Executive Director for Open Doors. "Reportedly 40,000 people fled the violence
and an estimated 20,000 people found shelter in 10 refugee camps in the
region.
    "Christians in Canada need to stand in solidarity with fellow Christians
in Orissa to let the Indian government know that it will be held accountable
for the protection of Christians against more violence against Christians."

    An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation,
arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing
discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers
in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature
distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community
development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering
believers. To partner with Open Doors Canada, call 905-636-0944 or go to our
Website at www.opendoorsca.org.




For further information:

For further information: or to set up an interview, contact Paul
Estabrooks at (905) 815-3342 or email paule@od.org

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