Friday, September 5, 2008

Pray for Orissa

A humanitarian crisis is looming in India, with militant Hindus trying to "cleanse" their province of Christians. I got the following e-mail this morning from my friend Santanu Patro in a neighboring state, begging for wisdom, advice, and help.

Please read it, and pray for the believers, the Hindus who persecute them, and what we might do to help.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the most precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Thank you very much for your prayers and we rely in God who is going to answer all our prayers. But it is becoming hard and testing for us to understand the faithfulness of God's people. Like me many of us are broken and we want God to intervene immediately.

Today I have got some fresh news and it is estimated 500 to 600 pastors, evangelists and believers are killed. No one is spared including the children. Orissa is one of the most backward states and communication is so poor it is difficult to go into interior parts of the affected district. No media, Christian leader or human right activists are allowed to enter.

I am trying my best by sending mails to the authorities as well as asking Christians to pray. For next few days I will be busy in holding prayer meetings for the persecuted Christians.

I also hear that people who are in relief camps their food and water is contaminated and they are suffering with water born diseases. They come to eat in the relief camps and spend the night in jungles as police express their inability to protect them in the camps at night.

What is shocking is that now no believers are willing to go back to the village as they lost everything and they still fear that they may be killed. Some of them are trying to migrate to other states. I have been contacted to contact some organization if they can help in migration and rehabilitation in Madras.

But this is going to be large scale migration of 500,000 people at least. What is needed is immediate relief to all the Christians in relief camps. I have contacted World Vision and other organizations but they express their inability to help as Gov’t is not allowing them. I also feel when they want to migrate no rehabilitation package would help them settle in their villages.

The Hindu militant groups namely Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal (BJ) and Rashtriya Swayam Sangha (RSS) are now forcing Christians to burn their bibles and convert them to Hindu belief and put a tattoo on their body, a Hindu symbol indicating they are Hindus. Those who refuse are killed.

Out of fear many are becoming Hindu and one cannot blame them. But I am also thinking of politically mobilizing to initiate some action. It is a human rights violation as well as fundamental rights violation of right to religion. It is an ethnic cleansing and genocide. I am praying if Lord leads me to start a public forum. I need his wisdom. Please pray and give your advise.

At the moment I am not going to Orissa as situation is still tense, in fact many of my relatives and friends want to leave Orissa and come. Please continue to pray.

With the persecuted Christians, Santanu
Rev. Dr. Santanu K Patro

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