Cardinal Gracias: Victims of 2008 Kandhamal riot are ‘martyrs’
By Sr Carmel Ann Coutinho
The violence that lasted for nearly four months in 2008 against Christians in Kandhamal District of Odisha state resulted in the loss of 100 lives and left more than 56,000 people homeless.
Survivors claim they are facing continued denial of justice in the numerous cases pending before the law courts. But the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, to which the victims belonged, is preparing to initiate the cause for sainthood of those killed.
Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar has appointed Fr Purushottam Nayak to document and prepare a dossier containing details regarding the Catholics killed during this violence.
Fr. Nayak will document their lives and virtues before the start of the diocesan process. Fr. Nayak is the archbishop’s personal secretary and deputy secretary (in-charge) of Odisha Bishops Regional Council.
Meanwhile, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai and President of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), spoke to Vatican News during his last visit to Rome about the issue. Cardinal Gracias has met with and listened to the people who suffered and is convinced that those who died in Kandhmal are martyrs. He supports Archbishop Barwa and says we need to be sensitive to our people who have suffered.