Christians Observe Protest Fast To Mark Orissa Attack Anniversary
MUMBAI, Maharashtra(SAR NEWS) --Activists of a Catholic forum in Mumbai December 21 observed a daylong fast to mark the first anniversary of the violent attacks on Christians in India.
The members of the Catholic Secular Forum, a community non-government organization, were protesting the Orissa state governments inaction and calling for protection for the community.
Alongside the fast at Azad Maidan was a Black Crib symbolically representing a Christmas crib that was torched near Nagercoil in Tamil Nadu last week, and threats to repeat it in other places.
CISF general secretary Joseph Dias told SAR News that attacks by non-state players had increased in vigour in the run-up for Christmas.
The saffron brigade -- the pro-Hindu groups -- has reduced the freedom of religion to a farce in Orissa where there has been no respite for a year despite assurances by the Union and state governments, he said.
There has been no let-up in the attacks on Christians and the potential danger of attacks increasing during Christmas is even more.
State shutdown called off:
Despite the calling off of the proposed Christmas bandh, Orissa continued to be a communal cauldron, Dias feels. The mob terror unleashed by the fundamentalists in Orissa makes it equal if not more disastrous than the Mumbai terror attacks. The government and the citizens therefore need to pay equal if not more attention to communalism and mob terror, if India's secular fabric is not to be torn asunder by extremist elements.
He said there was no improvement in the situation in Orissa, as even this Christmas, religious services will be held by over 12,000 persons in 9 relief camps in Kandhamal district alone, and an equal number in another 13 affected districts like Jharsuguda or Bherampur.
At least another 30,000 are hiding in the forests of Orissa and thousands of families fleeing to the state capital Bhubaneshwar or other states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi or Goa.
The protesters urged the prime minister, the home minister, the chief ministers and political leaders to act and treat communalism as equal, if not more threatening than terrorism, damaging the secular fabric and unity of the country.