KANDHAMAL, Orissa – In July 2008 a severe persecution of Christians broke out in the Indian state of Orissa. A 22 year old nun was burnt to death when angry mobs burnt down an orphanage in Khuntpali village in Barhgarh district, another nun was gang raped in Kandhamal, mobs attacked churches, torched vehicles, houses of Christians destroyed, and Fr. Thomas Chellen, director of the pastoral center that was destroyed with a bomb, had a narrow escape after a Hindu mob nearly set him on fire. The end result saw more than 500 Christians murdered, and thousands of others injured and homeless after their houses were reduced to ashes.

Recently a strange and dramatic event took place in Orissa, which has many people talking and wondering. In recent months, herds of wild elephants have begun to storm villages that are home to some of the worst persecutors of Christians during the troubles. In one village, where in August a year ago the Christians had to run for their lives while their homes were being destroyed by rioters, a herd of elephants emerged from the surrounding jungle exactly one year later, in July 2009, at the same time of the day of the attack.

These elephants first attacked a rock crusher machine owned by a key leader of the persecution movement. They then went on to destroy his house and farms. Hundreds of villagers have been forced to take shelter in camps in the Indian state of Orissa after repeated attacks by a herd of elephants. Seven people have been killed and several others injured in attacks by a herd of 12-13 elephants over the past few weeks in Kandhamal district.

Over 2,500 people living in 45 villages have been affected by the attacks, district chief Krishen Kumar said. It is, however, unclear why this herd of elephants migrated from the Lakheri sanctuary in a neighbouring district. He said the herd had travelled some 300km into Kandhamal, and even entered a town in the district. Wildlife officials were camping at the site of the attacks and trying to find out why the elephants had come out of their sanctuary. The villagers say elephants attack their areas in herds, causing heavy destruction.

Gaining momentum, they rampaged through other non-Christian homes, demolishing gardens and singling out the home of persecutors, leaving Christian homes untouched. These strange attacks have spread, and according to a report, the elephants have already destroyed more than 700 houses in 30 villages, and killed five people.

Nobody in this area has seen or even imagined the unique appearance of a herd of wild elephants such as this. The elephants are not ordinary elephants; they appear to be on a mission. Typically, smaller elephants enter a village first, appearing to survey the community. They then rejoin the larger herd, and larger elephant soon follow and get the job done.

The ministry partner in India stated “We think that it might have something to do with the avenging the blood of martyrs. In fact the fear of God has fallen on the local people, who have labeled these elephants “Christian elephants.”

With little help coming from the administration, the villagers have taken to road blockades. “The elephants have destroyed crops and selected houses. But officials too express helplessness. “There is no permanent habitat of elephants in Sundargarh. They come from Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand where their habitats have shrunk. But is not clear how and why these elephants reached Orissa.

3 Responses

  1. Dear Fr.
    I am Fr. Jude Lakshman parish priest of Kotugoda. We have 5 churches in the parish with 4000 families.Rosa mystica of Croosewatta is one of them where there are about 295 families. There is a buddhist temple about 2 km away from the church. The buddhist monk and his councilars don’t like the church coming up there.The supreme court has given its judgement to the catholics to construct the church to have the sunday school and to have the sunday mass.

    On 6th December the mass was at 7 am. when the mass was over a gang of 500 buddhist fanatics came to the half built church and started a heavy attact. Destroyed almost everything in the vicinity attacted me and turned my car upside down and set fire on it.
    We have informed the police and the CID with the names of the accused. no action has been taken and the catholics in the area are in danger now.
    Please see the website of the archdiocese of colombo.
    Thank you.
    Fr. Jude

  2. Dear Friends,

    It is good to evaluate this real story.
    When Human become animals…Animals become Human…What is wrong in it…It is a big shame for animals to compare them with these people… any way no other way.
    When man became inhuman and people in authority and of responsibility kept themselves as watch dogs for thees evil doers…what to do..? God can not be simply with them.
    God permitted the elephants to act Human Justice (as per in Old Testament IKings 13:11-31, 2Kings 2:23-24)For animal like people this is the only option for God…God has given enough time to repent…For human, God is having a different justice that is divine one; only people of love and forgiveness will understand that.Which is shown through His only Son Jesus Christ at the Cross…Amen.
    Peraji Pen


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