Indo-Americans protest against Orissa violence

NEW YORK: An organisation of Indian-American Christians conducted a prayer vigil in New York outside the United Nations headquarters to protest the attacks on Christians in Orissa.

The vigil coincided with the Catholic Church closing all its institutions in India to protest violence against the Christian community, the clergy and destruction of their institutions, allegedly by religious extremists.

The three-hour New York vigil was organised by the Federation of Indian-American Christian Organisations in North America (FIACONA), Indian Christian Forum and Gujarat Christian Federation of America.

Twelve people have so far been killed in violence triggered by the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parisahd leader Laxmanananda Saraswati in Orissa’s communally sensitive district of Kandhamal.

As many as 1,000 families in over 200 villages of the district have been affected by the violence. (Times of India)

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Convents shut in protest of Orissa violence

Educational institutions run by the church in the national capital were today (August 29) closed as
part of a countrywide agitation to protest against violence against churches and Christian institutions in Orissa.

Prominent colleges St Stephens and Jesus and Mary, and schools including Columbus, Mount Carmel and Don Bosco were closed as part of the protest.

Scores of devotees also held a demonstration at Orissa Bhavan here asking the government to ensure law and order in the state and protect life and property of members of the minority community.

A day-long prayer meeting was also held at the Gol Dak khana in New Delhi.

“All Christian schools in the city and across the country are closed to express solidarity with the innocent people in Orissa who have been targeted. Rallies were held in several parts of the country,” Babu Joseph, spokesperson of Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), said.

Rallies were held in all state capitals and memoranda were given to governors on the issue, he said. 

A group of Christian leaders yesterday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his intervention to maintain peace and ensure safety of Christians in the state.

Singh has assured the delegation that “every effort” would be made to restore normalcy in Orissa which has been rocked by the violence.

PTi