News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

500k Churches
World News

Christians in India mark 9th Anniversary of country's worst anti-Christian violence

by Tola Mbakwe

International Christian Concern (ICC) made the announcement as India's Christian community marks the ninth anniversary of the deadly 2008 anti-Christian Orissa riots. The riots are widely considered to be the worst incident of Christian persecution in India's independent history.

In August 2008, anti-Christian mob violence swept across the Kandhamal District of India's Odisha State, then known as Orissa, after Christians were wrongly blamed for the assassination of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati.

After three months of violence, at least 91 Christians were killed, many hacked to death by axes and machetes, and at least three Christian women were gang raped. Additionally, nearly 56,000 people were displaced, forced to flee into the forests, as mobs burned down more than 5,600 houses, 300 churches, and other Christian institutions.

ICC said despite the passage of nine years, the lives of many Christians affected by the violence remain shattered by fear and injustice.

Pastor Pradeep Nayak, a Christian survivor of the 2008 violence, told ICC: "We are still in terror, not feeling safe. At every corner of the market we feel something is going against Christians."

Pastor Raj Kishore, a Christian who survived the violence, told ICC: "It was [the] most terrifying day of my life.

"I saw big flames and thick smoke coming out of a neighbouring village. We had to run away knowing that the next target [was] our village.

"We walked 40 kilometres through the thickest forest in the dark night with my 20-days-old son and my wife to reach a town nearby."

ICC reports that many Christians displaced by the violence have been unable to return to their home villages due to threats and a lack of government assistance.

William Stark, ICC's Regional Manager said many people have yet to receive justice due to discrimination and poor police work following the riots.

He added: "In many cases, Christians driven from their homes by mobs in 2008 are still unable to return to their villages unless they agree to convert to Hinduism."

He urged the Indian government must do more to provide justice to the victims and "take greater steps to rebuild the lives that were devastated by the violence nine years ago."

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email