Congress delegation meets President on Orissa violence

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New Delhi, Sep 2 (UNI) A high-level Congress delegation today met President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and urged her to intervene to stop the attacks against Christians in Orissa and ask the government to order a CBI inquiry into the violence and killings there since August 23.

Led by Union Minister Ajay Maken, who is also the CWC member in charge of Orissa, the delegation consisted of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee President Jayadev Jena and Union Minister Chander Shekhar Sahu.

Mr Maken told mediapersons that the RJD-BJP government in Orissa had been trying its best to create an atmosphere of communal hatred for pety political gains.

He said the Congress demanded the resignation of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who had failed to control the situation in which more and more Christians and Christian Institutions were under attack from fundamentalists.

"We appeal to Your Excellency to immediately intervene in the matter as required under the law of the land and the powers conferred on you in the Constitution of India and give protection to the life and property of the citizens of the state and in particular to the minority community," a memorandum submitted by the delegation to Ms Patil said.

Asked if the Congress wanted invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution for the imposition of President's rule, Mr Maken said that it was for the President and other Constitutional authorities to take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time.

AICC General Secretary Veerappa Moily, who was also present, said the Indian Constitution was very strong that if one machinery failed, there were other avenues for protecting the lives and property of the people.

Asked if his party was in favour of banning the Bajrang Dal, which is allegedly creating problems in Orissa, Mr Maken said it was for the CBI inquiry to find out the role of this outfit. "They should be banned if they are found to be guilty." MORE UNI SH RR RK1658

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