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India: official in Orissa threatens to demolish refugees' church

Catholic World News - August 18, 2011

The Global Council of Indian Christians appealed to the federal Supreme Court of India on August 18, seeking to block the demolition threat of a church built by the Catholic refugees in the troubled Kandhamal district of the eastern Orissa state.

The appeal follows the demolition notice served by a Kandhamal district official on August 17 on the Catholics living in a Christian settlement that the government itself had carved out on a jungle slope to accommodate 54 Catholic families who had been driven from their native villages by Hindu fundamentalists because of their refusal to forsake Christian faith.

Over the last two years, the transplanted Catholic families have developed the forlorn jungle slope and built a church with their meager savings, with tacit approval from district officials.

The shocking demolition threat comes days after the Supreme Court called upon officials in Orissa to give an accounting for the efforts to rehabilitate the Christians of Kandhamal. The court order was a broad hint that not enough has been done to accommodate the needs of the Christians who were left homeless after an orchestrated campaign of anti-Christian violence three years ago.

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