Christians cower from Hindu backlash in Orissa
TIKABALI, India (Reuters) – On a starry night last week, as Lal Mohan Digal prepared to go to bed, a mob of raging, machete-wielding Hindu zealots appeared above the hills of his mud house and swarmed over a bucolic hamlet in Orissa. By dawn, Christian homes in the village were smoking heaps of burnt mud and concrete shells. Churches were razed, their wooden doors and windows stripped off.
Krittivas Mukherjee, a correspondent in our New Delhi bureau, recently visited the eastern Indian state of Orissa for a first-hand view of the continuing Hindu nationalist violence against minority Christians there. His eyewitness feature “Christians cower from Hindu backlash in Orissa” paints a vivid picture of the drama unfolding in the ransacked Christian hamlets and makeshift relief centres packed with frightened refugees.
Orissa has a history of religious violence (see our factbox). The Reuters India website archive shows 37 stories since last Christmas from datelines including Bhubaneswar (Orissa state capital), New Delhi, Rome and Vatican City. The United Nations freedom of religion investigator warned back in March about more violence to come. Mukherjee’s harrowing story comes from a hamlet so small it doesn’t show on web maps.
ATTENTION EDITOR – VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY The charred body of a woman lies in rubble at an orphanage after it was attacked by a mob during a statewide strike protesting the killing of a Hindu leader, in Khuntapali village in the eastern Indian state of Orissa August 25, 2008. Police were ordered to shoot rioters on sight in Orissa on Wednesday to tame rising violence between Hindus and Christians that has killed 11 people so far and left the Pope “profoundly saddened”. Three bodies were found overnight in rural Kandhamal district, where Hindu mobs have damaged more than a dozen churches and attacked Christian homes and an orphanage this week. Picture taken August 25, 2008. REUTERS/Santanu Biswal
The horror of a story like this can be hard to get across, especially without on-the-spot reports like Mukherjee’s. Do you think this violence is being adequately reported in the world media?