Christian Council condemns killing of VHP leader, appeal for peace

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Hyderabad, Aug 25 (UNI) Condemning the alleged naxal attack on Jaleshpata Ashram in Orissa in which VHP leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati was shot dead, the All India Christian Council today appealed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor M Chandrakant Bhandare and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil to take steps to prevent any retaliatory attacks on Christians.

In a statement here, Council's National Secretary of Public Affairs Sam Paul said ''the Christian community in India abhors violence, condemns all acts of terrorism and opposes the groups taking law into their hands. We had major differences with Mr Saraswati, but we are extending our condolences and condemning his murder.'' Council Secretary-General John Dayal said ''We are concerned about the reports of communal violence in the last few hours against innocent Christians in nearby districts. We have heard that at least one prayer hall in Sudergarh was burnt and some Catholic nuns were injured and their van damaged.'' Mr Dayal appealed to them to take steps to maintain peace and harmony in the area and demanded the arrest of Mr Saraswati's killers. UNI VA KK AS1753

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