Catholic World News News Feature

Another casualty in Orissa: malaria claims life of nun who fled to jungle September 29, 0200

The unabated violence against Christians in Orissa has claimed a new victim, with a young nun from the southern Kerala state succumbing to malaria.

Sister Mable, a 30-year-old Clarist, was buried on Sunday at St. Thomas parish in the Thellicherry diocese in southern Kerela, where she was born. She had died in a nearby hospital the previous day.

The young nun contracted malaria during the three weeks she spent in a jungle in Orissa, where she and many other Christians had sought refuge from violent Hindu mobs.

"She reached home on the 13th, very sick, and was hospitalized few days later as her condition worsened," Sister Resy-– the elder sister of the deceased nun and also a Clarist sister-- told CWN from phone from their home.

Sister Mable, along with other two nuns from a convent at Ruthunga in Orissa, had fled into the jungle when Hindu fundamentalists went on the rampage in the region, targeting Christians. The violence was sparked by the August 24 murder of a Hindu leader. It now seems evident that the murder was orchestrated by Maoist rebels, but Hindu zealots nevertheless blamed Christians for the killing.

More than four dozen Christians have been killed since the violence erupted. The mobs have looted and torched over 4,000 Christian homes and dozens of Church-run institutions in and around the Kandhamal district of Oriss, where the slain Hindu leader had his base.

With marauding Hindu groups forcibly converting hapless Christians to Hinduism, more than half of the 100,000 Christians who lived in Kandhamal have now become refugees. They are scattered in the jungles, or temporarily finding shelter in the 14 refugee camps organized by the government.