Christian leaders for CBI probe into Kandhmal violence

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Bhubaneswar,Aug 27 (UNI) Christian leaders in Orissa today moved the High Court praying for a CBI probe into the recent violence in Kandhmal, including the assassination of VHP Leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples.

Addressing newspersons here, Orissa Minority Forum President Dr Swarupananda Patra said a writ petition was filed in the Orissa High court seeking CBI probe into the whole incident-- from the killing of Swamiji to arson and group clashes in Kandhmal.

Mr Patra said the Christian leaders did not beleive in the judicial inquiry ordered by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as they had bitter experience of another judicial inquiry set up by the government on the communal clashes in Kandhmal in December last.

Already eight months have passed since the government instituted a judicial inquiry into December violence in Kandhmal but no visible action has been witnessed in the inquiry, Mr Patra said adding that a delegation of Christian leaders today met Orissa Governor M C Bhandare and pleaded him for a CBI probe into the incident.

Mr Patra said the Christians in Orissa were not only pained at the heinous murder of Swami and his associates, but also condemned this dastardly act. They were was also shocked and aggrieved at the escalating and mindless violence against the Christians all over the state.

He said in Kandhmal several houses and churches were torched by the criminals adding that nearly ten thousand Christians in the district have fled to the forest and living without any food for the last couple of days.

Father Joseph Kalathil from Catholic Church, Utkal Christian Council leader Bhibhudutta Das, Cuttack Diocese Rev P S Nag and Rev P C Hota from AG and Pentecostal Church urged the centre and state government to take immediate, effective and sustainable measures to curb the violence and appealed to the people to promote peace and harmony rather than spreading communal hatred which had taken a heavy toll in Orissa.

The Christian leaders furnished a list of 43 churches damaged by the criminals since the Swamiji was assassinated and claimed that so far 12 people in Kandhmal and one in Baragarh have lost their lives in the violence.

UNI DP KK RN1914

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