Archbishop urges deployment of Central forces till end of elections

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 10 (UNI) Archbishop of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath today urged Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to deploy Central forces in Kandhmal till the end of the Parliamentary and Assembly elections.

The Archbishop, who led a delegation of Christian leaders to the Chief Minister to demand the deployment of the forces in the trouble-torn Kandhmal, told newspersons that the Christians were afraid of further attacks and the state police, who were very few, could not provide security to them.

He said the Christian leaders, during discussion with the Chief Minister, requested him to take necessary steps so that the paramilitary forces deployed in Kandhmal would continue to stay till the end of the next general election.

The Archbishop said the extension of the deployment of the Central forces was necessary since a campaign was on to polarise the religious groups till the general elections.

The Apex Court, while adjudicating a case filed by Mr Cheenath, had recently asked the Centre and state government to deploy the central forces in the district till the end of December.

On the nun rape case, Mr Cheenath said they were ready to cooperate with the police in the investigation, adding they had filed a revised petition in the Baliguda SDJM court to defer the Test Identification parade and conduct it outside the state.

The SDJM has already ordered the TI parade to be conducted in Baliguda today and issued notice to the victim nun to cooperate with the investigation process.

Mr Cheenath said the government had done a lot but some more things needed to be done restore the confidence of the Christians in the district.

He did not agree with the state government's claim that 13,000 of the total 24,000 refugees had returned to their home. While some of them have migrated to relief camps in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Berhampur others have moved to Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Gujarat, he said.

He said around 15,000 Christians were living outside the district and were afraid to return to their homes as they feared that they might be attacked or forced to convert to Hindusim.

On allegations that Christians, with the support of Maoist ultras, were killing the Hindus, Mr Cheenath said Christians had nothing to do with the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his four disciples. He appealed to Christians to refrain from supporting Maoists involved in violent activities.

Mr Cheenath said he had requested the Chief Minister to set up a fast track court at G Udaygiri and the judge appointed to head the court should not be drawn either from Christian or Hindu community.

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