Shivraj Patil asks Orissa CM to take stringent measures

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New Delhi, Oct 3 : Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Friday said in a strongly-worded letter to Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to review the situation and take effective measures to control violent and disruptive activities in the State.

The letter came hours after the Union Cabinet expressed grave concern over the situation in the state with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh directing Patil to present an appraisal report on the situation at the next cabinet meeting.

Patil said how after every incident, the Home Ministry has been making available additional Central forces which have continued to remain in the State.

Patil also mentioned that the MI-17 helicopter provided by the Ministry to the Orissa Government was used only for reccee purposes and not for transportation of troops.

He said out of five IR battalions sanctioned for Orissa, only one has been raised so far.

A delegation led by Keith Vaz, Member of Parliament and chairperson of the British Home Affairs Committee met Patil in North Block today. According to reports, matters of mutual interest were discussed during over half-an-hour meeting.

Secretary (Border Management) Jarnail Singh and some other senior officers of the Ministry were present at the meeting.

On August 23, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates were killed under mysterious circumstances leading to sectarian mayhem in the tribal-dominated Kandhamal District of Orissa.

The recent spate of violence in a string of attacks on Christians in three states has left at least 20 people dead and dozens of religious places, mostly churches and Christian prayer halls, damaged.

Many Hindu nationalists say they are determined to fight Christian missionaries accusing them of what they call '' forcibly converting'' Hindus to Christianity.

Meanwhile, Christian missionaries say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape discrimination of the caste-system.

Communal violence has spread out of Kandhamal to Karnataka as well where at least 20 churches have been burnt by Hindu mobs in the past ten days.

The Central Government in New Delhi has asked the state governments of Orissa and Karnataka to do more to stop religious violence.

ANI

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