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Orissa Anti-Christian Attacks 2008 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 27 August 2008
We updated this page until early 2009 with the latest information about the situation in Orissa. Below you'll see past press statements, updates, as well as stories from the mainstream India press. If you find a broken website link, please Contact Us.

Note that, while the Christmas 2007 attacks were a combination of caste-discrimination and religious persecution, the 2008 violence was mostly religiously motivated violence. (View reports from Christmas 2007 and the recovery effort at http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/1947/45.) Also, the Christmas violence was confined to the Kandhamal District and destroyed about 105 churches, 730 Christmas homes, dozens of Christian-owned businesses, and 4 confirmed deaths. But the 2008 (Aug.-Oct.) violence spread across 14 districts of Orissa and the total devastation was beyond the December statistics. We estimated, based on reliable sources, 315 villages were affected, 4,640 Christian houses burnt, 54,000 Christians homeless, 70 deaths and another 50 people missing and presumed dead (of these, 6 Protestant pastors and one Catholic priest killed), 18,000 Christians injured, 2 women (including a nun) gang-raped, at least 149 churches destroyed, and 13 Christian schools and colleges damaged


Feb. 13, 2009, Update on Orissa from aicc Sec-Gen, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2800/45

Jan. 21, 2009, Update on aicc relief projects in Orissa, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2731/47/

Dec. 31, 2009, Orissa Anti-Christian Violent Incidents List, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2325/45/

Oct. 24, 2008, Aicc Relief Efforts in Orissa, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2526/47/

Oct. 20, 2008,  Kandhamal Victims May Also Lose their Turmeric Crops, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2784/43/

Sept. 14, 2008, Orissa update and fact sheet, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2382/45/

Sept. 10, 2008, Orissa incidents and statistics (courtesy Roman Catholic leaders), http://indianchristians.in/news/images/resources/Orissa Incidents updated.xls (download Excel file)

Aug. 30, 2008, Lethal Lies blaming Christians for murder of VHP Leader are exposed, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2341/43/

Aug. 26, 2008, Timeline of new attacks in Kandhamal, Orissa, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2329/45/ 



Dec. 23, 2008, A Christmas in Orissa state under close scrutiny, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2671/42/

Dec. 19, 2008, In Orissa, fears of more anti-Christian violence over Christmas, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2661/42/

Nov. 25, 2008, Three months after start of India's unprecedented anti-Christian violence, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2608/42/

Oct. 29, 2008, Catholic Priest Dies After Injury in Orissa Violence, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2537/42/

Oct. 6, 2008, Anti-Christian Threats Unnoticed in Rural Karnataka, Recent Violence outside Kandhamal,

Oct. 4, 2008, India's Anti-Christian Violence Unparalleled Among World Democracies; Orissa violence continues, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2448/42/

Sept. 25, 2008, Hope fades after one month of widespread attacks on Christians in India, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2414/42/

Sept. 19, 2008, India's Central Government Responds to Spreading Attacks on Christians, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2396/42/

Sept. 6, 2008, United States Legislators Concerned about Violence Targeting Christians in Orissa, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2362/42/

Sept. 1, 2008, Citizen's Delegation meets President of India; Demands Central Government Action on Orissa, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2358/42/

Aug. 29, 2008, Anti-Christian violence slowing, but Orissa villages still affected, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2340/42/

Aug. 28, 2008, Unprecedented Anti-Christian Violence Spirals Out of Control in India, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2336/42/

Aug. 27, 2008, Massive violence against Christians continues unabated in Orissa, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2333/42/

Aug. 26, 2008, Tragic & Widespread Anti-Christian Violence in Eastern India, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2328/42/

Aug. 24, 2008, Christians condemn violence, killing of VHP leader; Hope peace will be maintained in Orissa



PHOTOS: We have many photos available. Pictures of the devastation on Aug. 24-30 by Rev. Abhiram Singh, Associate Secretary, aicc Balasore District Chapter available upon request; we have more recent photos of relief camps as well. Also we recommend this slideshow taken by Reuters photographers in late August, http://in.reuters.com/news/pictures/cslideshow?sj=200809011203145.js&sn=Violence%20in%20Orissa&sl=30

Multi-faith Citizen's Delegation (incl. aicc leaders) letter to President of India , Sept. 1, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2357/47/

Aicc President letter to Prime Minister, Aug. 28. 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/images/resources/pdf/PM_letter_from_Joseph_Aug_2008.pdf

Aicc Secretary General letter to Sonia Gandhi, "Call to end ethnic cleansing of Christians in Orissa," Aug. 28, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2342/47/

Aicc National Secretary of Public Affairs letter to Prime Minister, Aug. 26, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2343/47/

Aicc Secretary General letter to President of India, Aug. 25, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2344/47/


Sept. 26, 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, "CSW Urges EU to raise "Extremely Serious" Orissa situation at EU-India Summit", http://durrants.mediacoverage.co.uk/pr/37274797/aDM03hq4

Sept. 22, 2008, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, "Letter to President Bush Urges Safety for Religious Communities in India", http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2269&Itemid=1

Sept. 4, 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, "Orissa Christians Face Coercive Conversions to Hinduism", http://durrants.mediacoverage.co.uk/pr/36437208/aw_Mf-8_

Sept. 3, 2008, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, "India: USCIRF Urges Decisive Action by Central Government to Stop Communal Violence in Orissa", http://www.uscirf.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2261&Itemid=46

Aug. 29, 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, "CSW, Dalit Freedom Network and Human Rights Watch Call for World Action over Anti-Christian Violence in Orissa", http://durrants.mediacoverage.co.uk/pr/36188263/akuaSWiv

Aug. 26, 2008, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, "CSW Condemns Murder of Hindu Leader and "Horrific" Anti-Christian Attacks by Hindu Extremists", http://durrants.mediacoverage.co.uk/pr/36096760/aVA51bvR


National Commission for Minorities report, Vice Chairman's visit on Sept. 11-13, 2008, http://ncm.nic.in/doc/Tour%20Report%20VC%20Orissa%20Sep.%2008.doc (56kb)

"India Debate" in British House of Lords (deals with Mumbai attacks, Orissa violence, and Dalit issues), Dec. 18, 2008, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldhansrd/text/81218-0003.htm#08121892000782

Society For Threatened Peoples (Germany), "Persecution of Christians in the Federal State of Orissa", Dec. 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/images/resources/pdf/2008_Society_for_Threatened_Peoples_report_on_Orissa.pdf (655kb)

Questions on Orissa in the British House of Lords, Nov. 17, 2008,

Christian Legal Association (of India), "Report on Anti-Christian Violence in Indian State of Orissa", Nov. 10, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/images/resources/pdf/2008_CLA_Orissa_Briefing_Paper.pdf (108kb)

Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (UK), "HART Visit to Orissa, India", Oct. 30-Nov. 4, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/images/resources/pdf/2008_HART_UK_Orissa.pdf (1 MB)

Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF), "INSAF Fact-finding team to Orissa", Oct. 21-24, 2008, http://www.sacw.net/article163.html

Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist), "Fact-Finding Report on Kandhamal Situation", Oct. 15-16, 2008 (published in Nov. 2008 edition of Liberation magazine), http://www.cpiml.org/liberation/year_2008/november/update.html
[Editor's note: Contrary to perceptions created during the Cold War, not all communists are atheists who are against religious adherants. Especially in India, the communist political parties often defend freedom of religion and befriend minority religious groups like Christians and Muslims.]

U.K. Parliament debate, Oct .13, 2008. During a debate in the British Parliament on "human rights promotion", several MPs mentioned Orissa including MP Stephen Crabb, http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm081013/debtext/81013-0019.htm

Citizen’s Statement Against Terrorism and Communal Violence (letter by 88 leading Indian civil society leaders), "No Double Standards in the Fight Against Terrorism", Oct. 3, 2008, http://anhadin.net/article56.html

U.S. House of Representatives Concurrent Resolution 434, "Condemning the recent religious violence in India and calling on the Government of India to stop the violence and address its root causes", Sept. 26, 2008 110th Congress, 2d Session, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:H.CON.RES.434:

Concerned Citizens’ Independent Fact-Finding Mission, "Interim Report on Orissa", Sept. 25, 2008, http://www.sacw.net/article61.html

European Parliament resolution on the preparation of the EU-India Summit, Sept. 24, 2008, (see points D and E; also 24 and 25)

National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, "Report on the 2nd Pressure building team organized by FJPK to respond to the attack on Dalit and Tribal Christians in Kandhamal in Orissa", Sept. 19, 2008, http://www.ncdhr.org.in/latestinterventions/report-on-the-2nd-pressure-building-team-organized-by-fjpk-to-respond-to-the-attack-on-dalit-and-tribal-christians-in-kandhamal-in-orissa

Comments on Orissa and Karnataka violence by U.S. Ambassador at Large John Hanford during the press conference, Sept. 19, 2008, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/rm/2008/110027.htm


Tehelka Magazine, "Hindutva's Violent History", by Angana Chatterji, Anthropologist, Sept. 13, 2008, http://tehelka.com/story_main40.asp?filename=Ne130908HindutvasViolentHistory.asp

Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights report, "Communalism in Orissa”, Sept. 2006, http://www.iptindia.org/pdf/orissa.pdf (298 Kb)

The Economic and Political Weekly, "Hindutva's Entry into a 'Hindu Province': Early Years of RSS in Orissa", by Pralay Kanungo, Aug. 2, 2003, http://www.sacw.net/DC/CommunalismCollection/ArticlesArchive/Kanungo2003.html

South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre analysis, "Report of the Justice D.P. Wadhwa Commission of Inquiry: Judicial Commission or Injudicious Cover up?", Aug. 1999, http://www.hrdc.net/sahrdc/resources/wadhwa.htm


"10,000 listed guilty in Kandhamal riots", The Stateman, Dec. 1, 2008, http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=9&theme=&usrsess=1&id=233741

"The Force Of Unreason", by Vijay Simha, Tehelka Magazine, Vol 5, Issue 41, Oct. 18, 2008, http://tehelka.com/story_main40.asp?filename=Ne181008the_force.asp

"Kandhmal sees first burial in 45 days", by Anand Soondas, Times of India, Oct. 9, 2008, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Kandhmal_sees_first_burial_in_45_days/articleshow/3575593.cms

"Masterminds of Orissa riots," by Rajesh Ramachandran, Mail Today, Oct. 8, 2008, http://mailtoday.in/8102008/showstory.aspx?queryed=9&querypage=14&boxid=446831&parentid=15385&eddate=Oct 8 2008 12:00AM

"38 days later, Orissa Govt Admits nun’s rape," Times of India, Oct. 4, 2008, http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Delhi/38_days_later_Orissa_govt_admits_nun_was_raped/articleshow/3556112.cms

"Kandhamal turns into killing field", Indian Express, Oct. 1, 2008, http://www.orissa.net/news/default.asp?NewsID=17400

"India deploys more police after religious clashes," Reuters, by Jatindra Dash, Sept. 26, 2008, http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/B163642.htm

"Project Orissa," Frontline magazine, by Prafulla Das, Vol. 25 - Issue 19, Sept. 13-26, 2008, http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl2519/stories/20080926251900400.htm

"In the name of God", Tehelka, by Vijay Sihha, Sept. 13, 2008, http://tehelka.com/story_main40.asp?filename=Ne130908CoverStory.asp

"Christians cower from Hindu backlash in Orissa", Reuters, by Krittivas Mukherjee, Sept. 3, 2008, http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-35291320080903?sp=true

"Volatile situation in riot-hit Kandhamal", Hindustan Times, Sept. 2, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2354/45/

"PM assures assistance to Orissa victims", Hindustan Times, Sept. 2, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2352/45/

"Kandhmal tense after VHP leader's murder", NDTV, by Sampad Mahapatra, Aug. 26, 2008, http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20080062950

"Orissa on edge, VHP scoffs at Maoist theory", Hindustan Times, by Soumyajit Pattnaik, Aug. 24, 2008, , http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=India&id=67bf6775-9366-4b19-a8d9-6a4890d47577&&Headline=Orissa+on+edge%2c+VHP+scoffs+at+Maoist+theory&strParent=strParentID



"Hapless Christians handy for minority bashing" by Dipankar Gupta, Mail Today, Oct. 7, 2008, http://mailtoday.in/7102008/showstory.aspx?queryed=9&querypage=12&boxid=33640453&parentid=15338&eddate=Oct 7 2008 12:00AM

"It’s still religion, stupid",  Indian Express, by Angana Chatterji, Oct. 4, 2008, http://www.indianexpress.com/news/its-still-religion-stupid/369086/0

"Who’s the Real Hindu?", Hindustan Times, by Karan Thapar, Aug. 30, 2008, http://www.hindustantimes.com/StoryPage/StoryPage.aspx?sectionName=&id=de847806-8ec0-4ed2-aff5-e9317f5539d3&&Headline=Who%e2%80%99s+the+real+Hindu%3f&strParent=strParentID

"Orissa: Where has governance gone?", Deccan Chronicle, Editorial, Aug. 27, 2008, http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/2384/55/ (republished)



“Christians under attack in India”, BBC, Oct. 14, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7670747.stm, summary of similar radio story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7672228.stm

"Devil's Advocate: Interview with Delhi Archbishop", CNN-IBN, by Karan Thapar, Sept. 28, 2008, 8:30pm broadcast time IST, http://www.ibnlive.com/videos/74560/09_2008/devils_delhi_bishop1/devils-advocate-archbishop-says-ban-bajrang-dal.html (summary: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/devils-advocate-archbishop-says-ban-bajrang-dal/74560-3-single.html)

"Where Bibles are burnt", FRANCE 24, Sept. 19, 2008, http://www.france24.com/en/20080919-reporters-orissa-india-hindu-christian-religious-violence-extremists-vhp-bjp

"Attacks on Christians in India Continue, Thousands Flee", FOX Los Angeles, Oct. 3, 2008, http://www.myfoxla.com/myfox/pages/ContentDetail?contentId=7577218

"Your God or Mine: 30 Minutes", CNN-IBN, By Nilanjana Bose, Sept. 7, 2008, 9:30pm broadcast time IST, http://www.ibnlive.com/videos/73064/09_2008/30min_your_god1/30-minutes-orissa-asks-your-god-or-mine.html (summary: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/30-minutes-orissa-asks-your-god-or-mine/73064-3.html)

"Religion's new converts: Violent, intolerant", CNN-IBN debate on The Weekend Edition with Rajdeep Sardesai, Aug. 30, 2008, 8 p.m. broadcast time IST, http://www.ibnlive.com/videos/72529/08_2008/weekend3008_1/religions-new-converts-violent-intolerant.html (summary: http://www.ibnlive.com/news/religions-new-converts-violent-intolerant/72529-3-single.html)

"Blind Faith? Fragile Peace Blown to Bits", CNN-IBN debate on Face the Nation, Aug. 26, 2008, 10 p.m. broadcast time IST, http://www.ibnlive.com/videos/72250/08_2008/ftn2608_1/blind-faith-fragile-peace-blown-to-bits-in-orissa.html

Last Updated ( Monday, 08 June 2009 )
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