Fr. Richie Vaz, SVD, has followed the situation carefully, and has asked for our support. Fr. Ritchie is from India and is currently assigned to the SVD Mission Center in Techny, Ill. He writes;
"I am writing to ask you for your moral support and solidarity. As you may know, during the week of Aug. 23, 2008, violence and atrocities against Christians in the Eastern Indian state of Orissa, India has led to 27 deaths, 4014 houses of Christians destroyed or burnt and more than 50,000 people homeless living in the relief camps. A nun has been gang raped, religious men and women personnel humiliated, beaten, and tortured, some close to death.
Some of our SVD missionaries have suffered great injuries and a young woman who was working in one of our homes for children was burnt alive.
The murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on the night of August 23rd sparked this recent outbreak of violence. I wish to make you aware of the situation in case you are asked about it.
Finally, I ask you to take a moment to support our brothers and sisters in India. Attached is a sample letter that asks Indian federal leaders to protect the victims of this violence. Please use the letter to draft a message in your own words or copy and paste the sample letter into an email. For your convenience, I have listed fax number and email addresses of the Indian prime minister and the president, as well as the chief minister of Orissa and the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission in New Delhi."
Sample letter and contact information