Christians in Orissa Relief Camp Attacked

( [email protected] ) May 12, 2009 12:29 PM EDT

A relief camp in Kandhamal, Orissa, India was attacked Monday night by Hindu radicals, reported a leading Christian advocacy group in the country.

According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), Hindu radicals attacked Mondakia relief camp in Kandhamal, where 1,500 Christian refugees displaced from the August 2008 attacks were staying.

"Swasti Nayak, who was at the front of the camp, was injured at 8:00 p.m. last night," GCIC reported. "Terrified Christian refugees heard the familiar sounds of drum beats and Hindutva slogans."

Fearing a repeat of the August violence that left at least 60 Christians dead and more than 50,000 displaced, the advocacy group asked local authorities to ensure safety for Christians.

"GCIC has informed the SP and Collector and other authorities to send in additional police protection immediately."

Currently, only 3,000 Christians remain in relief camps as many have been forced to return home despite threats from Hindu militants and little compensation.

More than 5,000 Christian homes were burned in the anti-Christian violence and 252 churches were destroyed.

The latest attack this week comes as millions of Indians have gone to the polls for the country's parliamentary elections. The elections began last month and are being conducted in phases over the course of four weeks in order to ensure that security personnel and officials are present to protect the more than 700 million voters. Results will be released May 16.

Security officials guarding the Kandhamal district were initially scheduled to protect the population only until April 24, but with apprehensions of more violence, the Election Commission extended their stay until election results come out.