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Archbishop rips Orissa government for indifference to Kandhamal victims

Catholic World News - August 31, 2010

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, whose archdiocese includes the troubled Kandhamal district, has denounced the Orissa state government for its indifference toward the Kandhamal victims of anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal.

At an August 30 news conference held in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, the archbishop pointed out that of the 54,000 Christians who fled their homes to escape the savage violence of August 2008, about 17,500 are “still living away from their native villages.”

“The government claims that there are no refugee camps and so, everything is peaceful. But the reality is that our people are still being threatened to become Hindus to return to their villages,” Archbishop Cheenath told CWN.

In a related development, two different trials involving the anti-Christian violence ended on August 30, with mixed results. One court decision sentenced 12 people to 5-year prison terms for burning the homes of Christians; another court acquitted all 64 people accused of vandalizing and torching a church.

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