World Watch Monitor, May 22, 2019
Nearly 100 Christians were killed, 300 churches and 6,000 Christian homes damaged in Odisha after the killing of a Hindu Swami on 23 August 2008.
By the end of that year, seven Christians were arrested and, in 2013, found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. The convictions shocked India’s Christian community, still reeling after the deadly attacks.
Gornath Chalanseth, one of the seven, was freed on bail by India’s Supreme Court on May 21.
After greeting his family, Chalanseth was ushered into a nearby church and shouted his thanksgiving, tears of joy running down his cheeks. “Gradually I found solace in prayer. Prayer gave me peace of mind and I always remained disciplined in the jail,” Gornath said.
Impressed by his conduct, jail officials made him ‘wall guard’ to watch over 40 prisoners in the jail that had over 400 prisoners. As news of the bail came, the jail chief asked Gornath: “How will we find a replacement for you as wall guard?”