In the last few days, All India Christian Council (aicc) leaders released two reports on the anti-Christian violence in Orissa (India) which began on Christmas Eve. Newly confirmed cases of arson, murder, and assault make this violence qualify as the largest attack on the Christian community in the history of democratic India. Both reports show that the Dalits - formerly known as untouchables - were the main group affected by the violence.
Four leaders from aicc chapters in Orissa visited the affected villages from January 3-5 and released their report on Jan. 7, 2008. The report says 95 churches were vandalised or destroyed, 730 Christian homes burnt, and four Christians killed with many still missing and presumed dead. To view the entire Fact Finding Report, see: http://indianchristians.in/news/content/view/1826/45/
On Jan. 5, 2008, aicc Secretary-General John Dayal released a white paper after visiting the area. Advocate Nicholas Barla, a lawyer and human rights expert, and Mr. Hemant Nayak, a social scientist and human rights and development activist, were also part of the fact finding team. They concluded that the attacks on Christians included simultaneous, planned violence by extremist Hindutva supporters and complicity and consistent incompetence by police and local authorities. To view the entire white paper, see: http://groups.google.com/group/JohnDayal/browse_thread/thread/17aef1aebe4f1e70
According to media reports, two members from India's National Commission for Minorities (NCM), Dileep Padgaonkar and Zoya Hasan, are currently in Orissa to investigate the violence. Aicc leaders met with the NCM chairman on Dec. 27, 2007 in New Delhi. "We are saddened to acknowledge the violence in Orissa will go into the history books as an unprecedented attack on Christians in India. The tragedy is deepened by proof that the violence was avoidable if the authorities had enforced the rule of law," said Dr. Joseph D'souza, aicc President.