India Silent on Attacks on Orissa Christians

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Indians are demanding accountability for those who failed to stop the Mumbai attacks.

While several government officials have resigned, the reaction is very different from last August when a series of terror attacks swept India's Orrisa state.

Is there a double standard in India regarding Christans and Hindus? Click play to hear more from Bernard Malik, with the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations in North America.

Unlike the Mumbai attacks which ended after three days, the attacks in Orissa went on for weeks. Mobs of religious fanatics killed indian citizens and burned their homes. The state government failed to protect them and hardly anyone noticed.

What's the difference between the outrage at the Mumbai attacks and the silence about Orissa?

Sajan George of the Global Council of Indian Christians says it's because the Orissa attackers were Hindus and their victims were Christians.

"We have lost 121 martyred in Orissa, but that's not a story," George said. "Now we know when it comes in Mumbai, everyone is up in arms because this is big money, and it can be glamorous because it's a big city."

"Whereas, when 121 people are brutally murdered by the Hindu radicals in Orissa, they were buried unsung, unheard. And that's the injustice I'm talking about," he said.

Afraid to Return Home

Tens of thousands of Christians are still living in government camps, afraid to return home.

Now comes a new threat: Radiical hindus say they'll shut down Orissa state on Christmas day.

"The history of shutdowns in Orissa is always to intimidate Christians on such occasions," George explained. "So they're trying to send a message to them, they can't worship, they can't affirm their faith."

On Christmas day 2007, rampaging Hindus killed destroyed dozens of churches and killed several Christians. In August, hundreds more churches were destroyed.

Now, as this Christmas season approaches, Orissa's Christians are fearing the worst.

"They are saddened, they are helpless," George said. "They feel that everyone has left them high and dry, the government, the civil society, the international community. They are really, really very saddened.

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