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In memory
of the martyrs of Orissa

· Monument built to the victims of the 2008 attack ·

The Christians of the village of Tiangia (Orissa) have built the first monument honouring the seven martyrs, victims of the anti-Christian pogrom of Kandhamal in 2008.

Archbshop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, blessed the commemorative plaque in the presence of many priests and hundreds of faithful. “These seven martyrs”, said the Archbishop, “are pillars of testimony for the people of Kandhamal and beyond. We thank God for giving us such men, who sacrificed their precious lives for the love of Jesus. Rather than give up their faith, they clung to Christ with passion. For us, they are a source of inspiration and hope”.

The seven martyrs, all from Tiangia, are: Fr Bernard Digal, Trinath Digal, Bikram Nayak, Parikhit Nayak, Darasantha Pradhan, Dibyasing Digal and Dinabandhu Pradhan. They were killed following the murder of the Hindu leader Saraswati Laxanananda on 23 August 2008 by a Maoist group. From the beginning, the Maoist group admitted to the murder, however the Hindu radicals blamed Christians, who were criticized by the guru for their social work with tribals and outcasts - along with bishops, priests and nuns - of proselytising.

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