WASHINGTON (AP) - The Roman Catholic archbishop over the Indian
state of Orissa says Christians who fled intense persecution there
are being forced to convert to Hinduism if they return.
Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, who visited Washington last week,
said Christians who refuse "have been assaulted, tortured or killed" in front of their families. He said he's assured parishioners in his archdiocese that signing conversion papers under duress won't change their status as Catholics.
Since last August, dozens of Christians have been killed and thousands have been injured. Christians' homes and churches have
been burned and an estimated 50,000 have fled into jungles or
Cheenath says India's Supreme Court has ordered the government to stop the violence and pay compensation to the victims, but many are too frightened to return home.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.