Date: August 28, 2021
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)
Pray this verse over Christians in India this week, following the 13th anniversary of Kandhamal Day. The widespread violence in the Kandhamal district of Odisha state was the most severe outbreak of anti-Christian violence in India’s history.
Hundreds awaiting justice
On 25 August 2008, targeted attacks claimed the lives of more than 90 people. Hundreds of villages were ransacked and churches destroyed, leaving an estimated 54,000 homeless. Over 40 women were raped or subjected to sexual assault.
The violence was sparked after seven Christians were accused of the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati – a controversial Hindutva nationalist leader. However, the media reported that the killing was actually a result of Maoist involvement.
Over a decade later, five of the accused remain in jail while two have been released. Meanwhile, the perpetrators of the Kandhamal attacks have never been held to account. Hundreds of survivors are still waiting for justice.
‘I live in fear while my attackers go free’
In 2016, the Supreme Court of India directed the local government to re-investigate 315 cases which involved the most severe incidents of violence. While this seemed like a glimmer of hope, none of the cases have yet been reopened.
Pramod, who was forced to flee his village, said: ‘I live in fear while my attackers go free.’
Though India’s government seems to have forgotten survivors like Pramod, we remember. Join us in standing alongside them in prayer.
In summary, please pray:
- For God to bring healing, restoration and peace to all those affected by the trauma of Kandhamal Day.
- That authorities in India will turn words into action and reopen the 315 cases without delay, leading to justice for the victims and survivors.
- For the government to provide adequate compensation for victims, taking steps to reconstruct the churches, homes, and other buildings that were destroyed.