Sibling survivors of India’s anti-Christian violence opt for consecrated life

“Barbaric events” that took place in Kandhamal, Odisha (Orissa) in 2008 at the hands of Hindu radicals “should have never happened and should never ever happen again”. - Indian Bishop

On December 27, Fr. Anand Pradhan was ordained a priest of the Order of Friars Minor and his sister, Anjali, pronounced her final vows as a member of the Society of Saint Anne of Luzern.

The Asian News agency reported that a reception was held on December 29th in which more than 1,500 people, 15 priests and five nuns were present.  Among them were also 7 Christian families and 80 local Hindus who congratulated the siblings donating fruit and other gifts, according to the custom of their religion.

Last year Christians in eastern India’s Odisha state marked the 10th anniversary of the terrible massacre and atrocities inflicted on them by Hindu extremists.  The year ended with these two siblings who survived the persecution, offering themselves to the Lord in consecrated life.

10 years ago Anand and Anjali Pradhan had to flee to save their lives from Hindu zealots who destroyed their home in Odisha’s Kandhamal district. They have another sister, Sr. Jitima Pradhan, a member of the Congregation of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul.

On August 25, 2008, hell broke loose on the Christians of Kandhamal, with the extremists attacking them two days after the murder of Hindu leader Swami ‎Lakshmanananda Saraswati.  Christians were accused of the murder even though Maoist rebels ‎claimed the assassination.

Speaking during the ceremony, Fr. Anand urged for reconciliation.  “We are Indian citizens of one country, of one state, of one family. God created us in his image and likeness to live in unity, peace and prosperity. Reconciliation is the great virtue of the Catholic faith,” the Franciscan friar said.

Fr Anand entered the Arundaya Capuchin Ashram Minor Seminary in Barakhoma in 2006, after finishing high school and took his final vows in 2017. His sister, Sr. Anjali joined the Society of St. Ann, Luzern in 2010.  She completed her novitiate and made her first profession of faith in November 2016.