RAIKIA, India — Church historian Tertullian penned the dictum: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” after chronicling the history of the early Christian Church at the time Roman Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity and made it legal with the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313.
This adage is being literally demonstrated in the communities of the remote Kandhamal jungles of eastern Odisha state that have witnessed the worst persecution in modern Indian history, with the orchestrated anti-Christian violence of 2008 and subsequent harassment of Christian communities.
“My husband was hacked [to death] in Drepangia village, with nobody trying to rescue him, when a mob attacked him,” Pushpanjali Ponda, the widow of Christian pastor Dibya Sundar Digal, told the Register July 11.
A group of people had come to her house in the town of Raikia in a mini-truck, asking for the whereabouts of the her husband, who had gone to Drepangia, 8 miles from their house, for pastoral service.
It happened during the anti-Christian violence that engulfed Kandhamal following the mysterious murder of Hindu nationalist monk Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati in his ashram (hermitage) in Kandhamal on Aug. 23, 2008.
Touting the Hindu leader’s murder as a “Christian conspiracy,” Hindu extremists carried the body of the 81-year-old slain monk across Kandhamal in a “funeral procession” for two days, calling for revenge on Christians.
When Christians rejected demands to forsake their faith, nearly 100 of them were brutally murdered; 300 churches and 6,000 houses were plundered in the continuing violence, rendering 56,000 homeless.
Thousands of Christians had to languish outside Kandhamal for years because they could not return to their villages after refusing to recant their faith, as demanded by Hindu nationalists who enjoyed impunity from prosecution.
This story was originally published in ncregister.com . Read the full story here