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20 clergy had to flee from Orissa carnage: CEN 11.07.08 p 5. November 11, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India, Persecution.
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India’s anti-Christian pogrom has caused 20 clergy and over four dozen lay catechists to flee for their lives from the Kandamal district in Orissa, the Bishop of Phulbani told the Church of North India’s General Synod last month.

Meeting in Pathankot in the Punjab from Oct 17-21, Bishop Bijay Kumar Nayak told the 400 delegates to the CNI’s General Synod that Hindu militants had been targeting the clergy so as to “strike at the foundations of Christian life” in the Eastern Indian state.

Almost all of the CNI’s churches in Kandamal had been destroyed the bishop said, while the dead included one member of the diocese’s executive committee. Bishop Nayak reported that Thomas Nayak, the superintendent of the CNI school in Gudrikia was murdered by a mob on Aug 27. The bishop urged the synod to pray for the Christians of Orissa and to champion their cause with the Indian union government and the outside world.

India’s recent outbreak of anti-Christian violence commanded centre stage at the General Synod, with several survivors of the mob violence sharing their stories with the delegates. The CNI’s General Secretary the Rev. Enos Das Pradhan denounced government inaction in the fact of the violence, and condemned the decision by several Indian states to enact anti-conversion laws, ostensively in the name of “religious freedom.”

Hinduism had been exempted from the dictates of the anti-conversion laws, he noted, as the government saw reconversion from Christianity, Buddhism or Islam to Hinduism as “returning home” to India’s indigenous faith.

The CNI synod called upon the “central and state governments to ensure that Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other minority religious communities are not denied” their unfettered civil right “to ‘practice, preach and propagate’ their faiths.”

In other business, the synod elected the Bishop in the Diocese of North East India, the Rt. Rev. Purely Lyngdoh as moderator, or primate of the 26 diocese church that encompasses the northern two thirds of India.

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