Vatican, Aug 28: On Wednesday, Aug 28, Pope Benedict XVI firmly condemned the violence in Orissa and called upon Indian religious and civil authorities "to work together to restore peaceful co-existence and harmony between the different religious communities."
"I learnt with great sorrow the information concerning the violence against the Christian community in Orissa which broke out after the reprehensible assassination of the Hindu leader, Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati," he said. "Until now several people have been killed and many others wounded," he said. "Several places of worship belonging to the church and private properties have been destroyed."
"While firmly condemning the attacks on human lives, whose sacred character must be respected by all, I extend my spiritual comfort and solidarity to the monks and nuns who have been put through such a difficult test," he said.
Orissa has been tensed ever since the VHP leader was killed, with staunch supporters burning down different parts of the state. The main target however has been churches and missionaries. Following which, curfew was clamped on the state and the Centre has intervened to ensure law and order is maintained.