Christians Hold Prayer Rally in India

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Thousands of Christians held a prayer rally in New Delhi, India, Friday for those being persecuted by Hindu radicals.

How wide-spread is the violence? Click play to watch Joseph D'Souza with All India Christian Council, following George Thomas' report from Orissa.

Overnight, in the eastern state of Orissa, Hindu mobs destroyed another church and dozens of Christian homes.

Orissa has witnessed several weeks of deadly anti-Christian violence. At least 20 people have been killed after a Hindu religious leader was shot dead last month.

Hindus have accused Christians of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to convert to Christianity.

"The atmosphere in the Kandhamal district of Orissa is still volatile," an attorney visiting Kandhamal with a team to provide legal aid to victims told Compass Direct News.

"Yesterday afternoon, we were going to the Raikia area, but as we were about to reach there, we were informed that a mob had attacked a police station and the police had to open fire. We had to flee Kandhamal right away."

The attorney also said Hindu extremists had destroyed all communication links in Kandhamal, including mobile phone networks, and blocked some roads with trees and stones.

Violence broke out last month after Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati was shot along with four others in an attack in the Kandhamal district.

Although a senior Maoist leader claimed responsibility for the slaying, Hindu groups blamed Christians. Hindu mobs burned down monasteries, churches and an orphanage.

More than 20 prayer halls and houses of worship have been defaced by hard-line Hindu groups in the state.

Sources: CBN News, BBC, Compass Direct News

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