Persecuted Kandhamal Christian lays down his life for the nation in Ladakh

Persecuted Kandhamal Christian lays down his life for the nation in Ladakh as the Christian community stands in solidarity with the whole country as Indians first and foremost.

Chandrakant Pradhan

Supreme sacrifice of our jawans should not go to waste; never again should a family of a jawan be persecuted in their own country.

It is sad that as the nation is locked down to combat the corona virus pandemic we mourn the slaughter of the 22 jawans who have been martyred for the defence of our frontiers against external aggressors. Among those who laid down their lives in service of the nation is the 28 year old Chandrakant Pradhan, a resident of Raikia in Kandhamal district of Odisha. This young martyr demonstrated great patriotism in spite of being made a refugee in his own country after his home was destroyed in 2008 by communal goons who orchestrated anti Christian violence by declaring themselves ‘patriots’ and dubbing the Christians as ‘foreigners’.

Subsequent to this anarchic act that condemned him to destitution and desperation this Christian youth Chandrakant Pradhan joined the Indian army in 2014 with an exemplary display of patriotism in spite of being targeted and persecuted for his Christian faith by his own countrymen. What is ironic is that some of those very people praising him today were once speaking in favour of his persecutors.

Kandhamal in eastern Odisha state became a familiar name across the world in 2008, following the orchestrated violence against Christians in which nearly one hundred valiant Christians embraced martyrdom for their faith as they were slaughtered just for being Christians.

While none of these martyrs of faith received even a proper funeral during the violence that engulfed the remote jungle region, hundreds attended the funeral of Chandrakant Pradhan, who was among the Indian soldiers killed recently in the clash with Chinese soldiers in the Ladakh mountains of the Himalayas.

Following the mysterious murder of Hindu leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in August 2008 in Kandhamal, Hindu nationalists promptly touted the murder as a Christian conspiracy and called for revenge on the innocent non violent Christians.

Dozens of valiant Christians refused to recant their faith even under death threat, and embraced martyrdom. In the aftermath, nearly 100 Christians were killed, and 300 churches and 6,000 houses were plundered in unabated violence, rendering 56,000 homeless.

Despite he and his family were  condemned to destitution by the communal goons in 2008, Chandrakant still laid down his life nevertheless in the Galwan Valley of Ladakh in defence of our country’s honour. The country should take note of such a great act of exemplary sacrifice by this patriotic Christian who had been made destitute because of his faith yet laid down his life to defend the country’s borders from external aggression.

As we salute all the martyred jawans who have defended the nation with their very own lives urgent concern should also be shown to innocent faithfuls whose lives are taken away with impunity by communal goons taking advantage of the unfortunate situation caused by the absence of the law enforcement agencies who are engaged in the emergency services of restoring normalcy during this pandemic.

Recently in the second week of June a 14 year old tribal Christian boy was killed in Odisha for his faith which speaks volumes of intolerance that still exists in the country.

Unmarried, Chandrakant was the eldest of Karunakar Pradhan’s four children, including a daughter and I appeal to Shri Naveen Patnaik the Chief Minister of Orissa to compensate this family adequately atleast now even as he had failed miserably to curb their misery in 2008.

Today, all those who have played a role in the persecution of Christians in any form whatsoever in India, and those who back the persecutors up with muscle power stand exposed and should hang their head in shame. Chandrakant Pradhan has proved that Christians in India are Indians first and foremost, and that the ones questioning their loyalty to India are the real enemies within.

Dr.Abraham Mathai
President-Indian Christian Voice & former Vice Chairman,Minorities Commission

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