VHP flays ''police atrocities'' on tribals in Kandhamal

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Bhubaneswar, Sep 18 (UNI) VHP Orissa secretary Gouri Prasad Rath today alleged that the police atrocities on innocent tribals had worsened the situation in the trouble-torn Kandhamal which witnessed communal fury in the wake of killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his disciples.

Mr Rath told newspersons here the recent attack on police stations by an irate mob was a reflection of anger among the tribals against the alleged police atrocities.

The VHP secretary warned that the tribals would take to the streets if the police atrocities were not stopped and demanded that the curfew and prohibitory orders clamped in Kandhamal be lifted and the relief camps closed to bring the situation to normality.

He alleged that despite repeated requests, the state government had not implemented the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act strictly resulting in rampant and unlawful conversions in the district.

Mr Rath claimed that massive conversions were solely responsible for the Kandhamal violence and demanded that all the Christian NGOs be banned as they were trying to ''take advantage of the situation and indulging in disinformation campaign to defame the country.'' The VHP leader also alleged that Christians had torched prayer houses to get foreign funds and benefits announced by the government.

He further alleged that while the Christians were being provided food and shelter in the relief camps, the tribals were unable to eke out their living due to continuous curfew and prohibitory orders.

''This led to widespread discontentment among the tribals who took to the streets demanding relief and jobs,'' he said.

Mr Rath said the VHP will organise a month-long 'shradhanjali sabha' across the state as well as a district-level convention on October 23 to demand a total ban on conversions and cow slaughter.

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