Christian's Homes Saved in Orissa "for Now"

NEW DELHI, India, JUNE 10, 2005 ( The homes of more than 100 Christian families in the eastern state of Orissa were spared demolition, thanks to the intervention of the state’s chief minister.

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Naveen Patnaik requested that the district collector of Koraput, Subha Sarma, issue an order to stop the «eviction process in Christianpeta for now,» confirmed the Indian episcopate today, reported SAR News.

Sarma had ordered the «immediate» demolition of the 109 Christian homes. As soon as the Christians heard of the order, they tried to postpone the demolition, but Sarma rejected their request and ordered an «extra deployment of police» in anticipation of possible tensions.

The families threatened with eviction — as part of the drive for the beautification of the town of Jeypore — are poor «tribals» who have been converted to Christianity.

Their presence was opposed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the National Body of Volunteers, one of several fundamentalist Hindu organizations which promote nationalist Hindutva ideology.

The RSS, which is powerful in the state, is the armed branch of the nationalist Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, which governs Orissa.

The RSS pressured the district’s civil authorities for the eviction of the Christian settlement, reported Fides.

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