Open Doors is committed to support our brothers and sisters in Orissa with a holistic approach—now and for the future. Join me in prayer for the victims of this senseless violence.”
(Santa Ana, CA)—Open Doors has responded quickly to support Christian victims of Hindu extremist violence in the state of Orissa, India, while also putting together a long-term plan through 2009.
In the last two months approximately 5,000 Christian homes have been burned or destroyed, 200 churches destroyed and around 50 people have been killed and hundreds of believers injured in various attacks. Another report said 500 people, mostly Christian, might have been killed in the past few months’ violence in Kandhamal district. Also, an estimated 50,000 Christians have been displaced by the violence.
Christian leaders are concerned with the unsanitary conditions of the refugee camps and people dying due to inadequate facilities.
Dr. John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council, told Compass Direct News that the chief minister of Orissa admitted that at least 10,000 people are still in government-run refugee camps, and that tens of thousands are in the forests or have migrated to towns outside Kandhamal.
“The government has admitted 40 dead, though we have details of 59 men and women mercilessly killed in the seven weeks of unabated mayhem,” he said. “For us, peace would be when the last refugee is back in his home, secure in his faith, with a livelihood restored, his children’s future secured as it should be in a secular India.”
Carl Moeller, Open Doors USA President/CEO states: “The situation is still horrific for Christians in Orissa. Christians are still suffering from violence and the terrible conditions in the refugee camps. Open Doors is committed to support our brothers and sisters in Orissa with a holistic approach—now and for the future. Join me in prayer for the victims of this senseless violence.”
So far Open Doors co-workers, partnering with Christian groups in India, have accomplished the following:
Research and Survey
• Selection and training of paid volunteers for a survey of 14 districts in Orissa
• Collection of data of about 500 families who suffered loss in the violence
• Networking with churches and Institutions for relief distribution and organizing seminars.
• Treatment of more than 35 individuals suffering from major illness or disease primary due to the recent persecution
• A referral center established at Berhampur for patients injured in the violence
• Partnering with YMCA Berhampur and Christian hospital Berhampur for assistance in medical work.
Aid and Relief
• Distribution of relief packets (clothes, soap, rice, cooking oil, etc.) to 626 families in Koraput and Gajapati districts
• 1,000 packets of relief materials packed and stored in a warehouse for distribution
• Assisted 23 children living in a hostel
• Individual help provided to pastors and families who were in urgent need of food and clothing.
Training and Counseling
• Three Standing Strong through the Storm seminars were held for pastors. The seminars focus on helping the participants face persecution from a biblical perspective. One of the seminars featured special counseling sessions for the victims.
• Formation of the Orissa United Christian Forum (OUCF) as a common umbrella organization for all Christian programs in Orissa
• Filing of writ petitions and affidavits
• Participation in various rallies and protests organized by different organizations against the violence in Orissa.
The goal for the Open Doors’ project for the long term is to reach out to the victims of persecution who are traumatized and living in constant fear with basic needs of food, clothing, medical care and spiritual healing so that it leads to the restoration of normal life. In collaboration with many other Christian organizations working under the OUCF umbrella, the programs include research and data collection, distribution of relief package for victims, medical care and support, legal assistance, training and counseling.
Open Doors is asking supporters to join in an advocacy campaign to help the suffering Christians in Orissa. Participants can Email the Indian Ambassador to the U.S. Ronen Sen to ask him to provide adequate protection for Christians in Orissa and to ensure justice and compensation to the victims of the violent attacks. To send an Email to Indian Ambassador Sen, and for more information, use the link provided.
Courtesy: Elijah List