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Southern Baptist aid assists Indian Christians under persecution in Orissa


BHUBANESWAR, India (BP) — About 2,100 Christian families driven from their homes in India’s Orissa state are receiving needed relief supplies from Southern Baptists’ world hunger and general relief funds.

Tens of thousands of Christians have been forced from their homes since a Hindu swami and four of his followers were murdered in late August. Though Maoist insurgents took credit for the killing, Hindu extremists blamed Christians and mounted mob attacks on churches, homes, and villages populated by Christians. Dozens of people have been killed, hundreds injured, and thousands of homes, churches, and businesses burned.

The Christians receiving the aid have fled to camps operated by the government, police officials, and private groups. Even in the camps, they have found themselves subject to extremist attacks.

More than $38,000 has been released from the Southern Baptist World Hunger Fund and general relief funds to distribute a month’s worth of basic food items to 2,135 families, representing a total of about 12,810 people, said Francis Horton, who with his wife Angie directs work in Central and South Asia for Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization that is coordinating the effort.