Washington DC, November 29, 2013: When Christianity reached a small village in Assam, India in 2012, it was met with extreme violence and led to seven Christian families being beaten, robbed and left homeless because of their faith.
Hiding in the jungle with nothing, these Christians were left to wonder if the God of their new faith would provide for them in their time of need. Putting their trust in God to come to their aid, these Christians had their faith rewarded in more ways than they ever could have imagined.
Christianity Comes to Assam
In 2012, one of Moneswar Rabha’s daughters was very sick. Being a Hindu from a rural area of India and with little access to modern medicine, Moneswar turned to the Hindu priest of the village for help. The priest told Moneswar if he were to sacrifice one of his chickens to local Hindu gods, his daughter would be healed.
“Upon hearing this, I sacrificed a chicken without success,” Moneswar told ICC in an interview. “I then sacrificed more chickens to heal my daughter; still no healing.” In total, Moneswar sacrificed over 20 chickens.
When sacrificing chickens did nothing to heal his daughter, Moneswar returned to the village priest. Upon hearing the chickens did not work, the priest told Moneswar he needed to sacrifice a goat instead. Again, following the direction of the Hindu priest, Moneswar sacrificed a goat. Still his daughter’s illness continued.
After the goat sacrifice failed to heal his daughter, Moneswar was desperate. Where else could he turn? If the gods weren’t listening, what could he do to save her? Finally, someone from Moneswar’s village told him about a Christian pastor traveling in the area. The villager told him he had seen Christians pray over people for healing.
Desperate, Moneswar tracked down this traveling pastor and invited him to his home to pray over his daughter. After the pastor prayed over his daughter, she was healed. Moneswar and his family were astounded by this miracle and asked to be taught about Christianity. After several meetings, Moneswar and his entire family converted from Hinduism to Christianity and were baptized.
A Night of Terror
After his conversion experience, Moneswar could not keep his new faith to himself. “I would tell everyone I met about Christianity and the healing of my daughter,” Moneswar said. “I wanted everyone to know.”
When the other villagers heard Moneswar’s story about Christianity, many became interested in his new faith. After seven families in the village had converted to Christianity and a small house fellowship was formed, the Hindu village leaders felt threatened.
They called Moneswar to a meeting where they told him he was no longer allowed to spread Christianity. The village leaders claimed Christianity was a foreign religion and warned Moneswar if he continued to spread it he would be punished. Despite this, Moneswar continued to talk about Christianity and hold regular fellowship meetings at his house.
When the village leaders discovered Moneswar did not heed their warning, they rounded up a mob of radicals at night to punish Moneswar. Before the mob could find Moneswar, he was warned by another villager and fled into the jungle. Two other Christians from the village, Prasata and Michael, volunteered to go to Moneswar’s home and protect his family from the radicals.
When the mob arrived at the house, they demanded Moneswar be given over to them so they could teach him a lesson. When Prasata and Michael refused to let the mob into the house, they were beaten. The men then entered Moneswar’s home and dragged his wife, Mala, into the street and beat her too.
Barely conscious, the three Christians were taken to the meeting house of the village leaders where they were interrogated and beaten with flashlights into the late hours of the night. As they were tortured, their new faith was mocked. Their tormentors said, “If your Jesus is real, he would stop us from torturing you.” The two men were beaten so badly their attackers believed they were dead.
Worked up into a destructive frenzy, the mob went to the homes of all the Christian families in the village and destroyed everything. They beat the Christians they found, burned down their homes and looted all of the valuables. As the Christian families fled the village, they found Prasata, Michael and Mala in the meeting house and carried them off to safety. From that night on, these Christian families were banished from their village.
Resettled and Restored
Fortunately, this is not where the story ends. After the attack, ICC’s Regional Manager for Central Asia, who had worked in Assam in the past, discovered the plight of these seven families and sent International Christian Concern’s (ICC) India staff out to meet them and see how ICC could assist.
After discussing their options, ICC helped these persecuted families resettle in a new village where a Christian community was already established. ICC assisted with the construction of new homes, supplying food and starting sustainable businesses that will provide these families with livelihoods for years to come. In August 2013, ICC visited these seven families in their new village to see how they were doing now.
“We were crying and hopeless when the radicals beat us, demolished our houses and looted everything,” Moneswar said during ICC’s visit. “We became poor in just a moment and worried about many things. God is the great provider. When we were driven from our village, I was working on a boat as only a laborer. I never thought I would be the owner of my own boat. I am very grateful that God led ICC to us to provide for us in our time of need.”
“During our distress, we were in sorrow,” Michael told ICC. “Then one man came to us, asking about our wellbeing. This surprised us. Later we came to know that from the other side of the world, people were praying for us and wanted to make sure we were OK. This amazed us and boosted our faith. Only by God’s grace we were able to overcome our distress. I thank God for not leaving us, but using us to glorify Him.”
Mizoram, November 27, 2013: It is the first time that a candidate of a political party has been using the church for furthering his political ambitions and campaigning, the complaint added.
The opposition Mizo National Front (MNF) in Mizoram has complained against state home minister R Lalzirliana for using the Church for his political advantage during the campaigning for the assembly polls on Nov. 25.
The complaint, made to the moderator of Mizoram Synod of the Presbyterian Church of India, alleged that the local Presbyterian Church of the Armed Veng locality in Aizawl, where the home minister is a member, made a testimonial for Lalzirliana, which was used for campaigning in his home turf – the Tawi assembly seat in the district.
The MNF alleged that the testimonial, which listed different activities of Lalzirliana in the local church, was signed by elder F. Lalroliana and elder Vanlalhruaia Colney, chairman and secretary of the church committee of church in the locality.
The party said its leaders spoke to elder Vanlalhruaia Colney on the night of Nov. 19 who admitted that they made the testimonial with the consent of the local church committee, while the pastor of the Armed Veng pastoral did not acknowledge the existence of the testimonial.
“There are a number of candidates for the polls who have made excellent contributions to church activities but no one, except Lalzirliana, advertised such activities and used them during electioneering,” the MNF said.
It is the first time that a candidate of a political party has been using the church for furthering his political ambitions and campaigning, the complaint added.
“We have information that it was Lalzirliana who asked the church leaders to make the testimonial,” the complaint said.
It added that it was hard to believe that the other church leaders agreed to it as maintained by the secretary of the church committee.
The MNF further alleged that the copies of the church testimonial of Lalzirliana were distributed at Seling village in the Tawi assembly constituency by the leaders of Mizoram People’s Forum (MPF), the church-sponsored election watchdog.
This has become a serious allegation as the MPF was formed by the Presbyterian Church and some other churches and NGOs as an election watchdog and was supposed to be completely non-partisan and unbiased.
Lalzirliana, who is also the vice president of the ruling Mizoram Pradesh Congress Committee(MPCC) and the senior most cabinet minister next to chief minister Lal Thanhawla, had won from the Tawi assembly seat for three times.
He faces a formidable challenge by Lalmalsawmi, the lone woman candidate of the main opposition party.
- times of india
November 01, 2013: Persecutors of Christians show no mercy towards children. In fact Christian youngsters are often the most vulnerable when their communities come under attack or suffer discrimination.
Barnabas is this week holding our Suffering Church Action Week, with the theme “Children of Courage”, to highlight how Christian children are affected by persecution and urge our supporters to take action on their behalf.
Part of the week is our worldwide Day of Prayer today, focussing on the needs of children. You can follow the event on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE
Unable to defend themselves or escape, Christian children are easy targets for violence.
A couple of weeks ago, two young Christian girls were tragically gunned down in a targeted shooting at a church in Egypt.
Mariam Ashraf Messeiha (8) and her cousin Mariam Nabil Fahmy (12) were there for what should have been a celebration, the wedding of a family member. But the masked gunmen on a motorbike, who showered the guests with bullets as they gathered outside the church, turned the scene into a nightmare. Two adults were also killed, and other children were among the wounded.
The Egyptian Christian community has been going through one of the worst periods of targeted violence in its long history of suffering. The two young Mariams are sadly not the only youngsters to have lost their lives in the violence.
In August, ten-year-old Jessi Boulus, an only child, was shot dead as she was walking home from her Bible study class, leaving her parents devastated. Her father Boulus told the BBC:
Jessi was everything to us. Her killers didn’t know that Jessi was my life – my future. They killed our future…
Egyptian Christian children have suffered the loss of the places where they felt most secure – their homes, schools and churches – in a campaign of targeted violence by supporters of Mohammed Morsi, who have scapegoated the Christian community for his ouster earlier this year.
Christian children are understandably fearful in this hostile environment. A Barnabas Fund contact from Egypt told us that some are now afraid to play outside in case they are kidnapped.
The Christian community in Pakistan recently suffered its worst-ever attack: a suicide bombing at All Saints Church in Peshawar that has claimed over 100 lives.
Many children were among the dead, wounded and bereaved. Teenager Shalom Nazir lost his mum, dad and sister in the attack, leaving him with no immediate family. Naiher (8) was killed along with her brother, Eshan (11), and their grandmother.
The five children of Nazir Masih and his wife Rehana, who were both killed in the blast, have been left to fend for themselves. Nitasha (16), Senaha (15), Sheroaiz (13), Sahab (11) and Simran (8) (pictured) are facing their loss with great courage and faith. Our partners in Pakistan who have been visiting and supporting those affected by the attack said:
The children were sad and their eyes full of tears but the elder daughter said bravely that we are happy that our parents died in the church and they are martyrs.
CAUGHT IN CONFLICT
War is devastating for people of all ages, but perhaps children feel its effects most acutely. Nowhere is this more apparent at the moment than in Syria, where Christian children are especially vulnerable as Islamist rebels target the minority community.
Many have suffered the loss of one or both parents. Among them are the children of a church leader who was shot dead when two archbishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boutros Yazigi, were abducted in April; he was driving the vehicle they were travelling in at the time and was killed in cold blood.
Children are becoming traumatised by the horrors to which they have been exposed. Many have been displaced from their homes, and some have not been able to go to school since the conflict began. Christian girls are particularly vulnerable to kidnap and sexual abuse.
One of our partners said:
Our children are becoming malnourished, growing up illiterate, and being disabled or even martyred. The iniquity and injustice created by war affects our children, who are losing their innocence and loving spirit.
SUFFERING AT SCHOOL
Discrimination keeps countless Christian families trapped in poverty, and they cannot therefore afford to educate their children; the little ones sometimes have to go out to work to support the family.
Those who attend government schools in Muslim-majority contexts are often disadvantaged in their exams; some are even deliberately failed.
In Pakistan, Christian children are taught from textbooks that contain discriminatory and inflammatory material about Christianity. One said that the killing of Christians was a “goal to be sought”.
Christian children are often forced to study the Quran and face pressure to convert to Islam.
Afirdo Pakpahan, a nine-year-old Christian boy, was too afraid to return to his school in West Java, Indonesia, in September after being pressured to learn the Quran and warned by his teacher that he would go to hell if he did not become a Muslim.
The children of a persecuted Christian family in Uzbekistan have also been threatened; they were forbidden from speaking at school about the Bible or Jesus and warned that if they did so, they would be taken away from their parents and would have to leave the country within 24 hours.
This is incredible pressure for these young brothers and sisters to bear.
Children’s naïveté about the potential danger they face because of their faith puts them at increased risk. In Sudan, apostasy (leaving Islam) is punishable by death, making converts extremely vulnerable. But the children of “Hassen” and “Ashia”, converts from Islam to Christianity, have been unashamed to make their family’s faith known at school; when other children asked if they are Christian or Muslim, they always replied, “We are Christians”.
This has caused their parents to decide that it is no longer safe for them to stay in Sudan; the family has been threatened by Muslims, including the government, to try to make them change their faith to Islam.
- dr patrick sookhdeo
Washington D.C, October 31, 2013: International Christian Concern (ICC) has recently learned that police in Astana, Kazakhstan have been aggressively intimidating and harassing members of the beleaguered Grace Protestant Church. The church’s 67-year-old pastor, Bakhytzhan Kashkumbayev (Pastor B.K.), was detained by Kazakh authorities in May as part of a nationwide crackdown on religious minorities.
According to ICC sources, the church’s membership has radically decreased since Pastor B.K. was arrested on trumped up charges of “harming the health” of a church member. “They are scared to go to church,” said ICC’s contact, who wishes to remain unnamed for security reasons. “His church keeps getting smaller and smaller.”
After collecting information on all of church’s regular attendants, police reportedly began calling and harassing past and present parishioners. Police also demanded that congregants give statements alleging Pastor B.K. forcibly coerced church attendance and monetary gifts from members, reports ICC’s contact.
When one congregant asked the police why they have been calling and harassing the members of the church, an officer reportedly responded, “You are worse than spies. You bring Kazakhs to Christ.”
Pastor B.K. was briefly released to house arrest on October 9th; however, just minutes after his release, he was re-arrested on charges of “extremism.” He is in very poor health, and has continually been denied necessary medical attention. The charges against Pastor B.K. carry a potential prison sentence of three to seven years.
Corey Bailey, ICC’s Regional Manager for Central Asia said, “Christians and people of faith in Kazakhstan live in constant fear. One example of why is the treatment of Pastor Kashkumbayev, which is completely unacceptable. Soviet-era mental torture, denial of medical attention, incarceration in an insane asylum, and attempts by the police to intimidate citizens to give false testimony are just a fraction of what has gone wrong in this case. Kazakhstan claims to be a country of religious freedom, yet in the last five years, and especially since the religion law was introduced in 2011, all we have seen in this country is a steep rise in the denial of basic human rights for the freedom of religion of its citizens. The International community should be outraged and must defend Pastor Kashkumbayev by demanding his fair treatment and release from prison.”
World Bank launched Islamic Finance Development Centre in collaboration with Turkish government Wednesday.
The centre is expected to share information on the development of Islamic finance, to give consultancy service on Islamic finance, and play the role in strengthening the institutional infrastructure
Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim inaugurated the centre at Borsa Istanbul building, Xinhua reported.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said at the joint press conference that Turkey is taking giant steps in becoming a global financial centre and described World Bank’s cooperation with Turkey as a symbol of shared objectives and shared prosperity.
Ali Babacan stressed that the interest-free finance system is the core of the Islamic finance system, which not only contributes to financial stability but also eliminates risks.
“Because behind this kind of financing system there are real assets and real value,” he said. “Even IMF has reported the advantages of an interest system based on the Islamic principles of interest-free finance system.”
NCDC – National Council of Dalit Christians (National Collective of Dalit Christian Originations Movements), NCCDC - National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christian (Forum of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India National Council of Churches in India) and all well-wishers and sympathizers of the movement have organised a National protest in Delhi on 11th December, 2013.
Demand: Scheduled Castes Status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.
Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims are denied the Scheduled Castes (SC) rights for the past 63 years. The Union Government failed to amend the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950, Para 3, which discriminates against them solely on the basis of religion, even after it was done to extend SC status to Sikh and Buddhist Dalits on a par with Hindu Dalits. Though Union Government promised it several times to Christian and Muslim Dalits, it is not done.
A Civil Writ Petition (No 180/ year 2004) was filed in the Supreme Court of India, challenging the Constitutional validity of the Para 3 of the said Order, promulgated by the then President of India and appealing for its deletion. The case was heard by a three Judges Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India. The then UPA Government-1 told the Supreme Court of India that it would ask the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) headed by Ranganath Misra, retired Chief Justice of India, to study the issue and recommend and that it would take a decision based on it.
After a nationwide study, the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report (Ranganath Misra Commission Report) was submitted to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in May 2007 itself, which the Government kept under the carpet for 2 1/2 years. Thanks to the pressure from some of MPs, it was placed in the Parliament in December 2009, but without the ATR – Action Taken Report.
On further hearing by the Supreme Court Bench on 23-01-2008, the Hon’ble Additional Solicitor General sought eight weeks’ time for the Government to take a decision and file its response; but no decision has been taken for six years till today.
The Government then sought the opinion of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), which duly considered it and endorsed the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report’s (Ranganath Misra Commission’s) recommendation to extend the Scheduled Castes (SC) status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Subsequently, the National Commission for Minorities also, after an in depth study, strongly recommended the same. As directed by the Supreme Court of India, both the above said Commissions (NCSC and NCM) have filed reply, which is a positive one.
In line with the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report (Ranganath Misra Commission’s Report), leaders of most of the main political parties and prominent Dalit leaders have written to the Prime Minister strongly recommending the demand. Many State Governments and Chief Ministers have also strongly recommended the same.
But the UPA Government is deliberately delaying the matter for the past 9 years, which is against the vital interests of the Christian and Muslim minorities. The Government neither implements the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report’s (Ranganath Misra Commission’s) recommendation nor files a reply (Counter Affidavit-Written Statement) to the query of the Supreme Court of India, even after having the hearings more than 12 times since January 2008.
Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims all over India as well as the entire minority communities are gravely disappointed and agitated. They are now forced to stage a National Protest, if the UPA Government fails to meet the following -
- The UPA Government must take speedy steps to implement National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities Report’s (Ranganath Misra Commission’s) recommendation well before the general election 2014, in the forthcoming winter session of Parliament itself.
- The UPA Government should immediately file a reply (Counter Affidavit-Written Statement) to the query of the Supreme Court of India in this case, putting an end to its deliberate delaying tactics during the past, about 9 years.
Christians / Muslims / Dalit Organizations / Movements and secular-minded people from all over India, including bishops, priests and nuns cutting across denominations will participate. Muslim NGOs and other religious leaders, besides prominent Indians and a wide spectrum of politicians will join hands in the protest.
All gathering in Delhi on 11th December, 2013 (Wednesday) in support of the extension of Scheduled Castes status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. Do your bit to assist in whatever way you can. We are counting on you.
- franklin caesar
Whatever might be the definition of the word “corporate” from the business perspective; and whatever economic growth, the government might have been claiming to have achieved through the corporate employments; in fact, the corporate job is taking a huge toll on the young workforce making them intellectually and socially bankrupt and robbing them of everything except for the bloodsucking token money. The corporates remain hell bent on exploiting even the last drop of the blood. Let’s take a detailed account of the devastating havoc it wreaks on the employees. Please bear in mind that when I say corporate, I mean the private company and not any government organization where the employees are more relaxed than at home since it takes them half an hour to issue a counter train ticket.
Doing job in a corporate is replete with sacrifices. You sacrifice the joy of being with your near and dear ones whenever you want if working away from home, and in case of working somewhere near your hometown, you are unable to spend enough time with them due to lack of time, tight schedule and the fatigue inflicted by the crushing daylong work. The working hours are only on the paper and not in practice. They create such a pressure that one will automatically stretch for hours beyond the specified working hours to meet their so called customer expectations and “Turn Around Time” notoriously called as TAT and thereby leaving the least leisure time for family, friends and near and dear ones. The corporate employees always seem to be in such a hurry that they do not even shake hand properly lest it could result in some work not being done in time. Except for rare cases, a job in corporate means we will have to forget celebrating festivals with the family; we will not have to think of attending marriages, birth celebrations and funerals and so on. The life here is not much different from a machine working through a human body. Taking leave at your desired and convenient time is like milking a bull. So, if this grave state of isolation from the family and society is life, then what is the death?
Another significant damage that corporates cause to a person is the intellectual insolvency. They keep people occupied to such a dangerous extent that they are unable to think beyond home-to-office and vice-versa cycle. I have come across some instances where people did not even know their country’s president, vice president and key ministers’ names. So, if the people working with a corporate are so ignorant of these basic information, how they would prove fruitful to the nation and the people, at least by using their voting rights. As surviving in this shrewd and callous world with dignity requires people to be sufficiently aware of the state of affairs around them, one has to think beyond managing the daily square meals; however the corporates seldom leave any chances to let them think beyond.
24/7 Business Cycle and Its Impact
In this era of globalization, the policy of business continuity round the clock is a dangerous phenomenon. The corporates, in order to maximize their profit in the least possible time, have adopted the strategy of the business being run through the entire 24 hours day cycle at the cost of extreme hardships meted out to the employees. At the time of joining, either the companies ask their employees to accept by signing that they would work in any shifts including night shifts if required; or they would forcibly push them into any odd shift depending upon the requirement. One can imagine how challenging that would be for a person, working throughout the night and then managing his/her own affairs in the daylight including sleep that cannot be substituted with the one in night. Owing to this evil practice, the employee’s own life gets reduced to an abject toy being played whenever required leaving no room for his/her own priorities.
For this nefarious practice, the corporates alone could not be blamed and the government is equally responsible as this happens under the very approval from it, for cheap economic growth.
The salaries offered by the corporates might look attractive and luring to people, however once offered they remain almost stagnant compared to the related inflation. Companies often set such ambiguous benchmarks and expectations that are barely achievable. Even if you toil day and night and achieve 100 % as per the defined parameters, at the end of the day you would listen to the wise sentence “Its good, however we expected even more from a person like you” resulting in getting you minimum for the maximum. As these companies are well trained in keeping the sparks of hope alive among the employees by extending promises like that of extending grass to a horse and keep holding it back one he comes nearer, many times, many people slip unintentionally into a long association with the company and ultimately getting even more frustrated.
Due to hard and demanding work, working for longer hours and working at odd times like night, many times it results in depression, frequent headache, entire body pain, back pain and sometimes even diabetes and many more. So, working in a corporate environment for longer years is bound to entail one disease or the other. In view of the above, it is wise to bid adieu to the corporate at the earliest before it is too late to make a comeback as you would become more crippled with the passage of the time and the corporate hold upon you would emerge stronger.
To address this menace, first of all, the government should ban the inhuman odd shifts particularly night shift system as there is no use of the money earned through depriving people of the natural sleep. It should also warn the companies of asking employees to stretch beyond the legally specified working hours. However, in extreme cases, it could be allowed against the mandatory pay for the extra time worked. It must formulate very strict regulations to ensure that the companies provide a very comfortable and conducive work environment where one could work free from stress and pressure because there is no meaning of the economic growth and development brought thorough comprising on the quality of people’s lives. However this is something that could hardly be expected from the greedy government which would not want to let its patrons sulk, resulting in lesser taxes to be wasted on luxuries and illegitimate amenities for these insensitive and corrupt politicians.
Syria, October 29, 2013: Islamist rebels besieged two Christian villages in Syria, killing around 13 people and forcing thousands of families to evacuate their homes.
Militants from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front stormed Saddad and Haffar on Monday last week (21 October). Until then, the villages had been relatively safe, and thousands of internally displaced families had sought refuge there.
A Barnabas Fund partner described the scene as 60 armed vehicles entered Saddad:
As the vehicles and armed personnel made their way through the streets, the shouting of “Allah Akbar” [“Allah is great”] and the touting of the Quran made it clear to both permanent and displaced that their time of relative tranquility was quickly coming to an end. As the armed groups began to set up sniper posts and a campaign of shelling, the day moved from bad to worse.
He said children were crying in fear as the militants took over the villages. It is thought that they were being used as a launching point for strikes against a nearby army base and arsenal. The villages are strategically located between the central city of Homs and the capital Damascus.
Around 13 people were killed, with many more wounded, and while many fled, thousands were held as a human shield.
Our partners helped Christian families to evacuate to neighbouring villages, Homs and Damascus. Barnabas sent funds to provide transport, blankets, food parcels and other essentials.
On Monday (28 October), government forces recaptured the villages, enabling people to return.
Our partner said on Monday:
My brother and 15 young persons were going back to Haffar and they were all crying of joy when they learned they could return. We are arranging for twelve minibuses to bring people from Damascus and Homs today to the two villages. Tomorrow we are arranging for two buses to bring people back from Damascus and will see how to support the return of the others. We are preparing to give [everyone] food parcels upon their return.
Saddad and Haffar are the latest Christian villages to be targeted by Islamist rebels in Syria’s civil war. The attacks follow raids on Saidnaya and the takeover of Maaloula; a version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus, is spoken in both places.
- barnabas team
Odisha, October 30, 2013: They were acquitted due to lack of evidence.
Additional district and sessions judge, Phulbani, Rajendra Kumar Tosh, acquitted them due to lack of proper evidence against them in the case.
The prosecution alleged that the arrested persons had allegedly set on fire an Odia Baptist church and 14 houses at Barkhama village in the district on December 25, the Christmas day, in 2007.
The district had experienced riots on the Christmas Day in 2007 and another such clash after the killing of senior VHP leader Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati in 2008.
Two separate judicial commissions were now enquiring into the reasons behind the riots and measures to be adopted for preventing re-occurrence of such incidents in future.
- pti/economic times