Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Church to build 5,550 houses for Orissa victims

The Catholic Church in Orissa has launched a plan to build 5,550 houses for Hindus and Christians in Kandhamal, where anti-Christian violence in 2008 destroyed thousands of houses.
“Thanks to donations from Christians, some 1,360 low-cost houses were completed by the end of April,” said Father Ajaya Kumar Singh told Itay-based Church news agency AsiaNews.
“Our goal is 5,550 homes. Some 700 Hindu families will benefit; the rest will go to Christians,” he said.
The seven-week-long Hindu fanatic violence since mid-August of 2008 has killed some 90 people and displaced some 50,000, mostly Christians, Church leaders say. Radicals burned down thousands of houses, including houses of Hindus who helped Christians.
“The Church serves all,” Father Singh said. “Religion is not a barrier for our service and development. Since many Hindus and Christians lost their homes in the recent violence in Kandhamal.”
He said the Church is building “houses for everyone, without any vested interest. We hope that it will make our Hindu neighbours understand that the Church is for all religious communities.”
Father Singh, who is involved in social action of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, said that “almost two years after the violence, religious tensions remain high in 15 villages.”
Father Manoj Nayak, who supervises housing projects, said in ten other villages Christians are not allowed to come back. This atmosphere “helps no one. For example, we are not allowed to use local material in our projects.”
Some Hindus “are not cooperating in the construction and are trying all possible ways to segregate and ostracize Christians. This is not a healthy sign. We are trying to motivate everyone to live in peace and harmony, but we face many challenges every day.

No comments:

Post a Comment