Hell broke loose on the Christians of Kandhamal on August 25, 2008, after Hindu extremists blamed Christians for the August 23 murder of Hindu leader Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati, even though Maoist rebels claimed the assassination.
Fr. Singh said that ten years after the violence, the victims, their families and survivors still await justice. In addition, 7 Adivasi Dalit (indigenous of low cast origin) Christians who were falsely accused of the murder of Lakshmanananda, are behind bars for the last 10 years under life imprisonment. On the contrary, not a single person who committed “heinous crimes” such as murder, gang rape, arson, looting and destruction of churches and homes, is behind bars. Besides, Fr. Singh said, there is also a huge amount of intimidation and threat against justice and the Christians.
Fr. Singh pointed out that the 2007 and 2008 violence on Christians was the worst in past 300 years in India.
Hundreds of innocent people were killed or injured in the violence, nearly 7000 homes were reduced to ashes and 395 churches were demolished. This went on for 6 to 7 months but what Fr. Singh regrets most is that 10 years after the violence, people still haven’t been able to return to their homes and villages.