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'Martyrs Day' celebrated in troubled Indian state

Catholic World News - August 29, 2011

Hundreds of churches across India’s central Madhya Pradesh state observed “Martyrs Day” on August 28, in an initiative begun by Catholic Church leaders.

The “Martyrs Day” observances included special prayers, and a blood drive organized as a vivid way to remember those who shed their blood for the faith.

“At least 200 such celebrations were held across the state,” Father Anand Muttungal, a spokesmsan for the Catholic church in Madhya Pradesh and the president of ecumenical Madhya Pradesh Christian Council, told CWN.

The Madhya Pradesh state, ruled by Hindu nationalist BJP during last decade, has recorded several incidents of atrocities against Christians, who account for just over 1% of the population in a state that has a population of 72 million.

Father Muttungal pointed out that the Sunday after August 23 is being observed as Martyrs Day in the state to commemorate the dozens of Christians were martyred for their faith in Kandhamal in eastern Orissa state three years ago.

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