They are hurt, but not out. The brutal attack on the Christian community hasn’t deterred the clergy from going back to Orissa. And many of the priests and nuns are eager to go back to their respective areas.
Kerala produces the largest number of priests and nuns —about 60 per cent of the Christian clergy in the country. There are at least eight Malayali priests and 30 nuns working in various institutions in Kandamahal district alone. Majority of them are back in Kerala.
But not all have been lucky. One of the members of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, Sister Mable, died a couple of days ago due to malaria that she contracted while hiding in the forests of Orissa. “She was desperate to return after regaining her health. But destiny proved otherwise,” said Sister Linta, who also returned from Orissa.
“On several occasions cow-dung mix and coloured waters were poured on us and the mob heckled us badly,” another sister said. Now she’s worried about the destitute home run by her congregation. “It is really bad to say that Hindus are behind this. In fact, they saved many Christians. The mobs consisted of goons and local politicians,” said Father Thomas Chellan, who was nearly lynched by a mob. Now he’s also getting ready to go back to work.