New Delhi, Aug 26: Former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President H D Deve Gowda on Tuesday, Aug 26 strongly condemned the ongoing violence targeting Christians in Orissa in the wake of the killing of Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati by Maoists in Orissa.
In a statement here, Mr Gowda said the attacks on Christian clergy and Church-run institutions and service organisations like orphanages, was part of the Sangh Parivar's larger conspiracy to turn state after state to a 'Hindutva laboratory'. All right thinking people, irrespective of political and religious affiliations, should join hands to stop this communal Frankenstein, out to tear apart the nation's fragile secular fabric, he added.
Condemning the killing of Laxmananda Saraswati, Mr Gowda said senior police officials and the BJP themselves had categorically stated that it was the handiwork of Left extremists.
The Christian organisations across the country, including the Catholic Bishops Conference of India, All India Christian Council and Evangelical Fellowship of India were the first to denounce the Swamiji's killing and had demanded action against the guilty. But the goons of the 'Sangh Parivar' were going ahead with dividing the nation on communal lines ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and were seeking to make Christians a scapegoat, he alleged.
Urging the Orissa Government to 'crush' the ongoing anti-Christian violence with an iron hand, the former PM demanded stern action against all guilty including the killers of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and other inmates of the Ashram.
The next of kin should be paid adequate compensation and their safety and security should be taken care of, he said.
The Centre should extend all cooperation and rush additional forces to aid the state government to tackle the situation.
The PM should immediately convene a meeting of all secular political parties and chalk out joint strategy to take on the communal forces in the country, he urged.