Investigate the Orissa incident: Govt

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New Delhi, Aug 26: The Centre on Tuesday, Aug 26 termed the Orissa situation as unfortunate and urged the state government to investigate the killing of two people, including a Christian missionary, in the violence during the VHP-supported agitation and take stern measures against the guilty.

However, Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal said there was no move to issue an advisory to the Orissa government to contain the situation.

Pointing out that the law and order was a state subject, Mr Jaiswal said the state has a democratically elected government and a responsible Chief Minister so there was no need for the Centre to interefere in the matter. He hoped that the state government would investigate the matter and bring the guilty to the book.

The violence during the VHP organised bandh to protest against the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananand Saraswati and four others resulted in the killing of a young nun and injuring of many other people and damage to property.

Meanwhile, the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA) strongly condemned the attacks on poor Christian tribals in Orissa villages in Kandhmal District. A young nun was burnt to death and many others, including women and children, had suffered grievous injuries. There was a report of one more death.

''It is truly shocking that the Sangh Parivar members involved in these attacks set afire to an orphanage along with churches, shops and huts. While the killing of VHP leader Lakshmananda Saraswati along with his colleagues was a heinous act, the attacks by his supporters on poor Christian tribals, women and children is most reprehensible,'' AIDWA General Secretary Subhasini Ali said.

Since the Government of Orissa blamed Maoists for the VHP killings, so it was clear that no ordinary Christian citizens were in any way involved in that crime. The AIDWA appealed to the Orissa government and to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in particular to ensure protection to all those who had been rendered vulnerable to attacks from Sangh Parivar activists.

Charging that these attacks had been periodically occurring for the last 6 months and there was a complete failure on the part of the State Government to intervene effectively, AIDWA said that now with increased tensions, the Government needed to take strong and effective action against those attacking Christians and their religious and social organisations with impunity.

Equally, those responsible for the VHP leaders' murders must also be apprehended. The Government must also help to rebuild all damaged and destroyed structures and give all possible help for reconstruction and rehabilitation, she said.

UNI

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