An ecumenical group of Christians in Madhya Pradesh state in India has appealed Christians there to observe August 26 as "Indian Christian Martyrs Day." The Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh has promoted the annual commemoration to pay tribute to Christian martyrs in India, beginning with St.Thomas the Apostle who is buried in India.
The Bhopal-based Mahasangh initiated the commemoration following deadly attacks by Hindu extremists on Christians that erupted in Odisha in 2008. The appeal, signed by the Mahasangh's official, asked people to offer prayers and organize blood donations onAugust 26. “By donating blood we want to send a message that the blood of Christian believers can give life to many," read a press statement. The appeal also asked Christians to pray for the co-religionists in the Khandmal district in Odisha who died for their faith during the 2008 violence at Christmas time.
The Mahasangh members will organize services to commemorate the Indian Christian Martyrs in the state, the statement said. The Mahasngh is a federation of various Christian groups in the central Indian state, which tries to coordinate the groups for more effectiveness and help identify effective Christian leaders. It provides training in public activism.