Leaders condemn attack on Christians in Orissa

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New Delhi, Dec 27 (UNI) Former Prime Minister V P Singh and CPI(M) leader and MP Brinda Karat today condemned the attack on the ''poor Christians'' in Orissa calling it 'unfortunate and appalling''.

They were part of a peaceful prayer for peace dharna and a candlelight vigil held at the Orissa Niwas this evening to protest the continuing violence against the Christians since December 25.

Several political leaders, social activists and religious leaders gathered to condemn the attacks on the community and appeal to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and end the violence in the state.

Mr Singh said the Centre should interevene and ensure the return of normalcy in the area as it was a national issue.

Ms Karat, who was present at the rally, told mediapersons that the attack on the minorities was ''appaling and outrageous''.

Criticising the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-ruled government in the state for remaining a silent spectator, She termed it unfortunate and uncivilised the way RSP and the VHP planned the attacks. ''When the Constitution gives the citizens right to follow their religion, the attacks were actually a challenge to the Constitution and affects our democratic rights,'' She added.

The prayer meet was also attended by noted social activist Shabnam Hashmi, spiritual leader Swami Agnivesh, Delhi Minorities Commission Chairman Kamal Faruqui and several personalities from all walks of life.

Church leaders, in a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, urged him to prevent the ''armed attack on the community in the Phulbani region of Orissa''.

National Integration Council member John Dayal said the atrocities against the community in the state on December 24 and 25 were fast exploding into the kind of violence seen in the Dangs district of Gujarat during the Christmas of 1998.

UNI

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