Christian educational institutions closed in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Aug 29 (UNI) All christian run educational institutions , especially Roman Catholics, in Meghalaya were closed today as a mark of protest against widespread attacks on churches and christians in Orissa.

More than fifteen people were killed after Vishwa Hindu Parishad Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four followers were mowed down by miscreatns on August 23 night at his ashram in Tumudibandha, Kandhamal district of Orrisa.

''As a mark of solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters, all Catholic run educational institutions in Meghalaya remained closed as mark of protest against the atrocities meted out to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters,'' Catholic Association Khasi and Jaintia, Shillong Archdiocese, president Dr S.L.

Marbaniang said.

Flaying the communal violence in Orissa, several church organisations have called for a peace rally on September 8 to condemn the incident.

The National Christian Council of India (NCCI), Catholic Bishop Conference of India (CBCI) and Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) had jointly sent messages to the President and the Prime Minister seeking their intervention on the crisis.

The Central Puja Committee (CPC) Meghalaya also, in an emergent executive committee meeting expressed serious concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Orissa ''due to religious intolerance by certain section of people with ulterior motives''.

The CPC will send an appeal to the Government of Orissa to protect the life and property of all sections of society particularly places of worship and educational institutions.

Meanwhile, the Meghalaya unit of the BJP has condemned the atrocities committed against the minorities and killing of the VHP leader in Orissa.

The Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights Council (MPHRC) also expressed its concern with the ongoing communal violence in Orissa.

''We are deeply shocked and anguished to hear of the atrocities and violence meted out to the innocent Christians and churches in Orissa,'' MPHRC Secretary General DDG Dympep said.

UNI RRK PC DB SY RN1757

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