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Persecutions in Orissa

orissaLike any newsletter, AMDG Express has to be selective in what it publishes from the quantity of reports that come in; generally there is some Jesuit involvement in the stories. Oliver Rafferty SJ, the Belfast historian in the British Province, visited the Indian Province of Orissa this summer and brought back a tale of tragedies. When a Hindu Swami and four companions were murdered by Maoists (who openly claimed the murder), Hindu fundamentalists made it a pretext for attacking Christians. Click on ‘Read more’ below for Archbishop Raphael Cheenath SVD’s telegraphic report on the scale of the persecution over the last two years:“Putting together our losses in December 2007 and August/September 2008, we have lost the following: Total number of churches/chapels/prayer halls destroyed: 294; Convents: 8; Priests’ residences: 8; Hostels: 12; motor cycles: 12; bicycles: 27; vehicles: 26; shops: 126. The Maoists have destroyed 23 Christian institutions. The August madness saw 5000 houses on fire in 192 villages. The attacks led to more than 80 deaths, evidence that destruction was directed towards personnel more than the attacks of December 2007. A young Hindu girl was burnt to death. Two priests were kidnapped, beaten and released, while six others suffered severe beatings at the hands of the fundamentalists. They attempted to burn three priests who had a providential escape, but not without a thorough beating. My own treasurer Fr Bernard Digal died of violent attacks on him.”

The archbishop has set himself the task of rebuilding the destroyed homes, at a cost of £390 each. Fr Liam Dunne SVD, at Moyglare Road, Maynooth, can forward contributions to Orissa.