A laywoman was killed and a priest seriously injured in eastern India on Monday after suspected Hindu extremists set a Christian-run orphanage on fire.
The attack took place in Khuntapali in the state of Orissa nearly 250 miles west of the state capital Bhubaneshwar. According to the Associated Press, a group of Hindu militants gathered at the orphanage and asked nearly 20 residents to leave the complex.
Then they set the orphanage on fire with a laywoman and a priest locked inside, Ashok Biswal, superintendent of police told the AP.
The laywoman died and the priest was hospitalized with serious burns.
The incident occurred during a strike called by the World Hindu Council to protest Saturday’s killing of a Hindu religious leader and four others by suspected communist rebels elsewhere in Orissa.
Hindu extremists in Orissa have attacked and even killed Christian missionaries in the past, including Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons. The three were killed by a Hindu mob that set their car on fire.
Christian missionaries in the region often work with mostly poor tribes, with some Hindus charging the missionaries with pressuring or bribing people to convert. Christian churches deny the allegations.
India is about 84 percent Hindu with a Christian population composing only 2.4 percent of its 1.2 billion people.