Centre asked to invoke article 355 Kandhamal

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New Delhi, Sep 25 (UNI) A fact-finding team of eminent academics and social activists, which visited riot-hit Kandhamal district, today asked the Centre to invoke Article 355 as attacks against the minorities were still continuing.

The Central Government should declare the entire district as a ''comunally disturbed area'' and issue precise directions to the Naveen Patnaik government in the state under Articles 256 and 257 asking it take necessary steps to curb the violence.

Demanding a CBI inquiry into the role of the state government, Prof Manoranjan Mohanty, of Delhi University, who was part of the team, said the team also felt that the Centre had not adequately intervened in the matter.

''There was enough evidence to show that violence was still continuing and the state government has been a silent spectator. It has not taken any measures to control the fundamentalists,'' he said at a press conference.

He said the Government should ban the entry of the VHP, Bajrang Dal and RSS into the violence hit district. Preventive arrests and FIRs must be lodged so that the perpetrators could be brought to book, he added.

He said it was unfortunate that not a single pie for compensation has been announced and no effort has been made to rebuild the affected community's confidence.

''The Government must assess the damage with the help of civil society organisations and ensure full compensation. An all party-meet should be organised to have peace committees formed for the state, district and block levels.'' The nine-member team comprised Prof Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, JNU, Prof Kamal Mitra Chenoy, also of JNU, senior journalist Seema Mustafa, film-maker Sagari Chhabra, Bijulal, of Indian Social Institute Delhi, Dr Prasad, National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR-NDMJ), Mr Vincent Manoharan, also of NCDHR, Dr Prakash Louis, Director Bihar Social Institute, Patna and Mr Pradul Samantrai, president, Lok SHakt Abhiyan and Mr Rajesh Jena, advocate, Bhubaneswar.

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