Govt should not aid christians: State VHP

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 18: The Orissa unit of Viswa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has asked the state government to stop any kind of financial help for the reconstruction of churches and prayer houses in riot hit Kandhamal district.

''The Orissa government has no right to spend tax payers' money to appease Christian Community '', VHP state general secretary Gouri Prasad Rath said and demanded that the government should withdraw the announcement forthwith.

In a statement here Mr Rath said there is no provision for financial assistance to places of worship in the relief code adding that the decision to provide financial assistance to the churches in kandhmal be reconsidered.

The Supreme Court, the VHP leader said has never directed the state government for financial assistance. It had only asked to look into the issue in a humanitarian manner but the state government has misinterpreted the Court order, he argued.

Mr Rath alleged that the Church, training centers for pastors and nun were patronizing conversion activities and said in a bid to restore communal harmony, the government should stop funding the churches for restoration work.

Orissa, he said would be the first state in the country to offer financial help for reconstruction of religious institutions damaged during communal violence.

Churches, prayer houses, temples, mosques, gurudwaras, boudh vihars,jain temples and prayer halls of tribals and training institutions for nuns and pastors would get financial help as per the official announcement of the Orissa government.

According to the order issued by the Revenue department, places of worship and religious institutions will receive assistance ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 2 lakh depending on the extent of damage and on the basis of verification by a local Revenue Inspector.

While Rs 2 lakh each would be provided for churches and temples destroyed during riots in Kandhamal, partially damaged places of worship would be given Rs 1 lakh each.

Similarly, Rs 50,000 each would be given for completely destroyed prayer halls, while those with moderate damage would be provided Rs 20,000 each and partially damaged prayer halls would get Rs 10,000 each.

UNI

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