Three more believers were martyred and twelve others were severely wounded in a fresh wave of violence in Orissa, India, on September 30. The latest attacks occurred in villages near Kandhamal, which has been the epicenter of violence against Christians since August 22.
The violence in Orissa came as attacks in two other Indian states targeted a Christian pastor and a Bridge of Hope center.
An estimated 30 Christians have been killed and thousands of others have lost their homes since Hindu extremists went on a rampage after their leader, Swami Laxmananda Saraswati was murdered. His followers are seeking revenge for his death, for which Christians have been blamed. However, Maoists have claimed responsibility for the murder.
A Gospel for Asia correspondent in Orissa said Tuesday's attacks came at 4:30 a.m. when mobs of as many as 5,000 Hindu extremists attacked three separate villages. The extremists burned down about 150 homes and three churches. The Indian media reports that police opened fire in an attempt to disperse the violent forces.
The mob also reportedly attacked the local police station, demanding that two people arrested in connection with the ongoing riots be released. Media reports from within the country also indicate that the extremists have blocked all roads in and out of the area of the attack with rocks and boulders to prevent police from bringing in additional forces.
Since the violence began August 22, six people who attended GFA-related churches in Orissa have been killed by the Hindu extremists, who have personally attacked more than 2,000 believers from these churches. The extremists have also burned down 630 homes belonging to believers who attend GFA-related churches and destroyed 22 churches where GFA missionaries serve as pastors.
Many Christians are still hiding out in the dense jungles surrounding their villages. They are suffering from the effects of starvation, disease and monsoon flooding that wrecked the state in September.
With the continued violence and the roads blocked, it is impossible for GFA Compassion Services teams to get into Orissa to distribute aid.
Missionary Beaten in Uttar Pradesh
Gospel for Asia missionaries are also dealing with persecution in Uttar Pradesh, where Hindu extremists have attacked a pastor and have set their sites on a Bridge of Hope center.
On October 1, the extremists attacked a Bridge of Hope center and a church in Magapatti, Uttar Pradesh. The pastor of the church, who is a GFA missionary, was badly beaten in the attacks.
Hindu extremists continue their campaign to obliterate Christians in Orissa, India. On Tuesday, they destroyed another 150 homes like this one, along with three churches.
The extremists have been systematically threatening the parents of the children in the Bridge of Hope center for the past few weeks. The center was closed as a precaution and no children were on site when the extremists attacked the missionary.
Christian Aid Workers Forced Out of Bihar
Another gang of anti-Christian extremists forced out Christian aid workers attempting to help survivors of flooding in Bihar. The incident occurred on September 25 in the state's Purnia district where aid workers were assessing needs and handing out cards for people to exchange for supplies. The group was planning to help at least 2,500 families.
The extremists accused the group of taking advantage of the situation to lure the people into Christianity by offering relief materials.
The aid workers, who have been in Bihar since September 1, were able to move their base to another area and continue operations.
GFA missionaries in the affected areas shared the following prayer requests:
Please pray for the families of those killed in Orissa, that they would be comforted by the Word of God and that they would remain strong in the midst of intense persecution.
Pray for those wounded in Tuesday's attacks. Several of them have life-threatening injuries and are not expected to live. Pray for their healing and that it would be a testimony of God's glory.
Pray for the people hiding in the jungles and those living in relief camps. Pray especially that God would provide a way for Compassion Services teams to reach them.
Pray for healing for the missionary in Uttar Pradesh.
Pray that the Bridge of Hope center in that community would be able to reopen and that the children could go to school without fear.
Pray for the many Christian organizations attempting to distribute relief supplies in Bihar.
Pray for the extremist and militant groups who are opposing the Gospel to come to know Jesus as their Savior.