Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Jesuit Contribution to Orissa Peace Building Process

India Update:

Since anti-Christian violence broke out in the Indian state of Orissa on 23 August, Jesuits have been involved in many kinds of activities to mend the broken communities. Soon after the first outbreak of the violence, Mike T. Raj SJ (the Provincial of Jamshedpur), Prakash Louis SJ and Xavier Jeyaraj SJ went for a week to the area to coordinate the initial response together with civil society groups, international NGOs, faith-based groups and the Jesuits of Orissa.

In the course of the weeks that followed, Jesuits and their colleagues in social centres all over the South Asian Assistancy mobilised people for rallies and other direct action to protest the violence in Orissa, while the website and frequent emails were used to report news from the ground. In mid-October, the triennial Convention of Jesuits in Social Action took place (see Headlines 10-2008) and the participants adopted a number of recommendations, which were subsequently supported by the Jesuit Conference of South Asia.

Click here to read their statement: S. Tony Raj SJ and his team of Jesuits in Orissa are coordinating the work in Bhubaneswar and in the relief camps in Kandhamal. A coordination centre run by S. Tony Raj has been set up, which will house the documentation, media and legal work of the archdiocese. Jesuit lawyers have volunteered to help the victims file the all-important First Information Reports (FIR). Apart from financial help, the Jesuits intend to take up 30 villages (750 families) in Kandhamal district where they are working already, and to continue their peace building and rehabilitation work in the region.

(Source: Xavier Jeyaraj SJ

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