ServLife is seeking to raise $10,000 USD to aid the 26 ServLife local workers living and ministering the gospel in Orissa who are in the midst of great religious persecution. None of the ServLife local workers were impacted directly but are close to victims and others who have been impacted.
The seeds for the current conflict were planted on August 23, when Hindu leader, Laxmananda Saraswati, and four others were killed in Orissa after 20 to 30 gunmen barged into a Hindu school and began shooting, the Orissa chief minister’s office said. The police blamed Christians for the murder, although local Maoists rebels claimed responsibility. A wave of anti-Christian demonstrations have continued leaving over 20,000 homeless and over 150 people dead, burning 6,000 homes, and destroying over 150 churches.
The anti-Christian attacks are said to be the worst in the 60 years of India’s independence. Thousands of Christians in Orissa state have witnessed their homes, businesses and churches destroyed and torched over the past few weeks, but the violence that has refused to subside may soon spread to other parts of India, warned a persecution watchdog group. Hindu extremists, who are behind the violence in Orissa, may spread their fierce anti-Christian sentiment throughout India ahead of the country’s general election, fears U.K.-based Barnabas Fund. Hindu activists reportedly attacked a group of Indian missionaries in early August. Earlier this month, a group of Hindus abducted four young children who were being escorted to a Christian orphanage and beat up the two staff from the sponsoring organization.
During an attack in Orissa about two weeks ago a witness says, “It was a big crowd, maybe more than 200 or 300,” said Ratna. “They are not only Hindus from our village but also included outside Hindus. Their demand is that if you want to stay in the village with us you have to become Hindu. Otherwise, we will kill you.”
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(Sources: VOA News, The Washington Post, and CNN)