Orissa to render ''reasonable'' assistance to religious institutions

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Bhubaneswar, Oct 23 (UNI) The Orissa government today announced to abide by the Supreme Court order and render ''reasonable'' assistance to all religious institutions, including the churches hit by the communal riot in the strife-torn Kandhamal district.

Home Secretary T K Mishra told newspersons here that the verification of the damages would be made in a three-phase manner and the assistance would be provided after getting the report from the collector.

Adjudicating a petition filed by the Archbishop of Cuttack, Rafael Cheenath, a bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, Justices P Sathasivam and J M Panchal in its ruling yesterday had expressed the hope that the state government would take a generous view on the demand of the petitioner for the sanction of Rs three crore for the reconstruction of churches and other religious buildings of Christians.

Mr Cheenath, in his petition, had alleged that as many as 16 churches were damaged during the riot and urged the Apex court to direct the state government to extend assistance to rebuild them.

On the direction of the apex court for the continuance of the CRPF in Kandhamal till December for maintaining law and order, Mr Mishra said the state government would soon write to the Centre to carry out the direction of the Supreme Court.

The Home Secretary assured to provide security to the nun if she agreed to cooperate in the investigation.

He said Test Identification (TI) Parade of the accused would be done and action would be taken against the guilty.

The Home Secretary said as per the direction of the Supreme Court, fast track courts would be set up for the speedy disposal of the riot related cases.

Mr Mishra said so far around one thousand cases were registered and on the approval of the High court, a judge in the cadre of the district court would be appointed for the disposal of the cases.

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