My Respectful Homage to Bishop Raphael Chinath

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My Respectful Homage to Bishop Raphael Chinathu, retired bishop of Bhubaneswar in Odisha who passed away yesterday. I met him in early 2009 when I visited the sites of Kandhamal violence initiated by RSS-Sangh Parivar volunteers against Dalit Christians. This was part of a study program conducted by the Council for World Mission with which I was associated with for some time presenting papers on child communion and Dalit issues. All along my tour I heard the name of this Catholic Bishop from Thrissur who worked with the people in that area both to re-establish the community and also to fight against the religious fundamentalist forces. I saw this an unusual attitude from a bishop and thought of visiting him. Our Orthodox parish vicar in Bhubaneswar got an appointment with him and we met him at his residence. He was in pants and shirt with just a crucifix chain hanging from his neck. I saw a simple person who can identify with common folks. No wonder he was able to involve himself in the suffering of the people. I salute him and his love for the people in distress and readiness to work for their liberation.In Kandhamal violence some fifty thousand people had to find shelter in the nearby forest as their houses, some five hundred of them, were burnt or destroyed and some hundred people were killed by Sankh Parivar. Nuns were raped, priests were made to walk naked in streets with naked nuns and police kept silent when all these were happening.