August 27, 2008

Pope speaks out against Hindu-Christian clash

by David Masters

Pope Benedict has condemned both the increasing violence by Hindus against Christians in Orissa, India, and the murder of a Hindu leader in the region that sparked the violence.

At least eleven people have been killed in the clashes, most of whom were Christian.

Christian homes, churches and orphanages have been ransacked and destroyed by Hindus angry at the killing of their leader.

On Monday a Christian orphanage was set ablaze, killing a 21 year old female who had been teaching children in the orphanage to use computers, and seriously injuring a priest.

Police have blamed the killing of the Hindu leader on Maoist rebels, but Hindus have placed the blame firmly on the shoulders of Christian militants.

Orissa in eastern India is a region well known for deadly religious fighting.

Relations between different religious groups in India are normally peaceful, although clashes in Orissa are common because of Hindu suspicions over Christian missionary work that have seen thousands of lower caste Hindus convert to Christianity.

State authorities have imposed a curfew in the region in an effort to bring an end to the violence.

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