Orissa Violence: Christian institutions closed

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Kandhamal, Aug 29: To mark a sign of solidarity against the violence in the Kandhamal district of Orissa in the past few days, many Christian institutions including schools and colleges will be closed accross the country on Friday, Aug 29. Christians in Orissa are planning to hold a protest outside Orissa bhavan in Bhubaneshwar on Friday, Aug 29 evening.

In the wake, a Christian delegation led by Catholic Bishops Conference of India has written a memorandum to the Prime Minister on Thursday, Aug 28 of their fears regarding the ongoing Orissa agitation in Kandhamal District. Condemning the killing of the VHP leader, Lakshmanananda Saraswati, the delegation has stated its fears as below.

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- The Christians in Orissa are in continual tension and great fear as the law and order machinery is not at their rescue and they are living in pathetic conditions for the last four days.
- This is the greatest disaster in the history of a Christian community in India and more so in Orissa.
- Christian community in Orissa are left with the mercy of the fundamentalists. 4. Adequate police force is also not found in the sight. The fundamentalists are forcing the Christians to leave their homes and to take refuge in the forests and even to leave the State. As a consequence there are sixty thousand refugees in the State.
- The aim of the fundamentalist groups is to drive the Christians away from the region as it is evident from the slogan they are shouting at Christians and the anti-inflammatory statements made by them. Most of the priests, pastors and religious men and women in Kandhamal are hiding in the forest to save their lives. In fact, the fundamentalists are in search of their hide-outs.

Requests to the PM

The Christian delegation have also requested the PM to probe into the case of VHP leader Laxmananda Saraswati's killing. Additional army or paramilitary forces are requested for the sight to control the situation and proper rehabilitaion to Christians.

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