DUBAI // Christians living in the UAE have condemned attacks against worshippers in the Indian states of Orissa and Karnataka, allegedly orchestrated by Hindu fundamentalists. A petition signed by more than 80,000 Catholics was delivered to the Indian embassy in Abu Dhabi, according to Christian community leaders. "We wanted to share our grief for the atrocities committed against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka. We also demanded action to be taken against the perpetrators of this violence," said Oswald Tauro, a member of St Mary's Catholic Church in Dubai.
He said the bound copies of the petition were addressed to officials in India and given to the embassy. "Meetings were also arranged in several churches to pray for peace," said Lloyd Rego, a member of St Francis of Assisi Parish in Jebel Ali. Dozens of people have died, thousands have fled their homes and scores of churches were reportedly destroyed as a result of clashes between Hindus and Christians.
Police say the attacks began after the killings of an elderly charismatic Hindu preacher known as Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and several of his aides in Orissa on Aug 23. Meanwhile, the Rev Johnson Joseph, a priest at St Francis of Assisi, said: "Any violence against any person should be condemned. I love Hindus and they love us, too. However, a few right-wing Hindus are against Christians in India."