Indian churches face renewed violence

GRANTHAM, Pa. (Aug. 26, 2008)–Pastor B. S. reports that Brethren in Christ and other Christians in the district of Kandhamal face renewed violence following the assassination by militants of Swami Laxanananda Saraspati, the man behind the war against Christians that left three people dead and saw thirteen churches burned in December 2007.  Hindu leaders have accused Christians of being behind the assassination of the fundamentalist leader. Mob violence broke out the evening of August 23 and continues. The Brethren in Christ Church’s Girls’ Hostel in Nuagaon, Orissa, is nearby to the site where the Swami was gunned down.

Shouting “Kill Christians and destroy their institutions,” rioters have burned churches and hostels, trashed private property, and attacked Christian leaders. According to Rev. B. S., there is no communication or transportation available to many places as buses, cars, and two wheelers are not able to move. “Several hundred Christians have fled to nearby forests, where they are hiding out without adequate food or shelter. Police protection has been provided to some Christian institutions, but it is inadequate in the face of the violent mobs,” he says.

In a communiqué to Chris Sharp, executive director of Brethren in Christ World Missions, B.R., regional administrator for South Asia, implored North American churches to “pray, pray, and pray” for their brothers and sisters in India. “The militant people have already done a lot of damage, and we don’t know how long they will continue. This is a very serious situation all over Orissa,” he states.