ASIA NEWS REPORT:
Suryakant Nayak, an Anglican, was going home after doing
some errands. Police found his body in a well with evident signs of a struggle.
In early March, 15 Hindus cut the throat of Goresa Mallick, a Catholic, for
witchcraft. For the Global Council of Indian Christians, the high rate of
acquittals in connection with the 2008 pogrom has encouraged Hindus to harass
the Christian community.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Six Christians have been killed by Hindu
ultranationalists or unknown attackers in Orissa in the last 14th months. The
latest are Suryakant Nayak, an Anglican from Bakingia village (Kandhamal), and
Goresa Mallick, a Catholic from Salimagocha village (Ganjam), who were murdered
on 6 and 3 March respectively. "What is scary is the fact that the government is
not concerned about the occasional killing of Christians in Orissa, and that the
police is conducting its investigation slowly and carelessly," said Sajan
George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
The latest murders were particularly gruesome. Suryakant Nayak went missing
on 2 March. After withdrawing some money in Raika, he carried out some errands
with his mother and three daughters and then went home. Not far from home, he
stopped for a drink whilst his mother and daughter went on their way.
Eyewitnesses say they later saw him lying on the ground, drunk. His body was
found in a well four days later not far from Raikia, showing bruises. Both his
hands and wrists were broken. The mouth and lips were swollen and some of his
teeth were missing. All these are telltale signs of a fight. Nevertheless, the
police has not filed a case of murder yet.
On 3 March, Goresa Mallick, 50, met a group of 15 Hindus from a neighbouring
village. After drinking something, he was attacked by the men, who cut his
throat and then proceeded to burn his body in the woods. The next day, the
family found his remains.
Police arrested the alleged murderers who justified the killing by accusing
the victim of "witchcraft". Goresa Mallick had converted to Catholicism five
According to Sajan George, "the high rate of acquittals and the low rate of
conviction in connection with the 2008 pogrom have encouraged rightwing Hindu
nationalists. They feel they have total immunity from the authorities and can
thus threaten and intimidate the Christian minority with impunity."
What is more, "in Kandhamal District, the failure to bring Hindu extremists
to justice" is compounded by the fact that "Christians are ostracised." (NC)