By BosNewsLife Asia Correspondent Santosh Digal reporting from India

There has been previous anti-Christian violence in Orissa.

BHUBANESWAR, ORISSA (BosNewsLife)– A prominent rights activist of India’s main umbrella group of evangelical churches has been killed by suspected Hindu hardliners in the volatile state of Orissa, local Christians confirmed to BosNewsLife, Friday December 16.

Rabindra Kumar Parichha of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) was reportedly killed late Thursday, December 15, in the town of Bhanjanagar in Orissa’s Ganjam District.

Christians said Parichha was found with his throat cut and there were signs he had been shot in his stomach.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the killing, but missionary Markose K J, of the Catholic ‘Montfort Missionaries’ order, told BosNewsLife that the killing came amid threats by Hindu hardliners.

Manoj Pradhan, an Orissa legislator and leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharitya Janata Party (BJP), and followers were seen moving into several villages. They allegedly threatened to kill all Christian leaders in Orissa’s Kandhamal district, where over 100 people died in anti-Christian violence since August 2008.


There was no immediate comment from Pradhan, who has been investigated by prosecutors for his alleged involvement in arson and murder of local Christians.

Paricha was one of EFI’s leading advocates on behalf of Orissa Christians, including survivors of the recent violence.

He previously worked as the head of a council representing indigenous villagers, including of his village Bhaliapada, where he leaves behind a wife and family.

Paricha was the third Christian leader to be killed in Orissa this year. Pastor Saul Pradhan of Banjamaha village was Orissa’s first known Christian murdered in 2011, according to rights activists.

Police claimed he died due to “much alcohol and being out in the cold”, charges his family denied.

Another pastor, Minoketan Nayak of the village of Midiakia was killed in July, Christians said. Police added at the time he died “because of a bike accident.”

His supporters claimed the pastor was killed and accused police and local administration officials of refusing to properly investigate the case as they allegedly supported Hindu militants.


With Christmas approaching, Christians are “in panic” whether they will be next on the Hindu hardliners’ death list, said missionary Markose K J, who is also a social activist.

He said an organization linked to BJP has called for a Hindu ‘Bandh’, a form of Hindu protests, around Christmas from December 23 through December 27. “Memories of the horror during Christmas of 2007 are still fresh in the minds of Christians of Kandhamal” said Markose K J, referring to violence in which at least
9 Christians died.

There have also been massive Hindu rallies with hate speeches in July this year, he added.

Christians comprise just over 2 percent of India’s over 1 billion people, who are mainly Hindu.

However there has been growing concern among Hindu nationalist groups about the spread of Christianity, including among Dalits, viewed as the lowest caste in India’s ancient system of Hinduism.


There have been attacks across India against Christians, although Orissa became known for its particular violence against the minority.

Among other cases making headlines was the killing in 2009 of Australian missionary Graham Steines, 58, and his sons Philip, 9, and Timothy, 7. They were sleeping in their station wagon in Manoharpur village when they were attacked by a mob of Hindu extremists and burned alive inside their vehicle.

Staines had spent over 30 years working with leprosy sufferers in India.

His widow, Gladys Staines, said in recent interviews that she had forgiven the killers and that Christ was her companion.

“I feel sad that I do not have my husband to support me, to guard me,” she said, adding that “these are just momentary emotions” of sadness. “[I have] the hope of heaven and of being reunited with my husband and children in paradise and seeing the Father face to face. This guarantee fills me with consolation.” (With additional reporting by BosNewsLife’s Stefan J. Bos).


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