I agree with Owen: this story needs much more attention!
Here’s a little background, excerpted from an AsiaNews article:
The district of Kandhamal in the diocese of Cuttack-Bubaneshwar (Orissa) is at the centre of this violence, the same one that in the recent past witnessed anti-Christian violence that left three people dead and saw 13 churches torched.
The new wave of destruction began yesterday morning and is still going on after Hindu leaders harangued crowds against the Christian community, urging them to destroy, accusing Christians of being behind the assassination of Hindu fundamentalist leader Swami Laxanananda Saraspati and five of his followers.
Laxanananda, who was behind last December’s anti-Christian violence, was killed between 9 and 10 pm last Saturday (23 August) in his ashram, in the district of Kandhamal. About 20 armed gunmen entered the place during yoga session and shot indiscriminately at those present, throwing grenades.
A few days before the Swami had been threatened by a Maoist group that wanted him out of the area, accusing him of fomenting ethno-religious conflict. His response was to call for a protest against Muslims in Jammu-Kashmir. However, radical Hindus took advantage of the situation in order to blame Christians.
Laxanananda’s organisation is well known for its opposition to Christian social activism in favour of Tribals and outcasts and for its accusations against bishops, priests and nuns for allegedly proselytising.
The main source of news about these atrocities is the blog Orissa Burning.
You know, about a month ago, my parish was visited by a priest in India–southern India, I believe. He mentioned that Christians often suffered violence from Hindu radicals who, among other things, oppose the Christians’ working to abolish the caste system and to give all Indian people the care, dignity, education, and prosperity that all human beings deserve. Most of the Catholics live in extreme poverty. And yet, he said that even with all the dangers and difficulties, Christianity is experiencing growth in India, and that each year, his diocese sees about 50 new young priests and religious head out into the world to serve as missionaries.
I thought it was all very fascinating and inspiring. The Spirit is truly working in wonderful ways there, despite the horrid persecutions that take place. It should move all Christians everywhere to deeper conversion.
All of us around the world need to join our Indian brothers and sisters in offering our prayers and acts of penitence for an end to the violence and hatred in Orissa and throughout the country. May the Lord bless and sustain the victims, and grant mercy and conversion to the offenders. St. Thomas the Apostle and St. Francis Xavier–great missionaries to India–please intercede for them!