Sunday, September 07, 2008

Orissa violence similar to Gujarat riots: Agnivesh

Press Trust of India

Saturday, September 06, 2008, (New Delhi)

With the violence against Christians in Orissa creating widespread condemnation across the country, a prominent religious leader said on Friday that the attacks on the minority community were "very similar" to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
"The killing of Swami Laxmanananda is being used as an excuse to target minorities in Orissa like the Godhra incident was used in Gujarat to fan the communal cauldron," Swami Agnivesh, President, World Council of Arya Samaj, told reporters in New Delhi.
The killing should be properly investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) so that the real culprits are apprehended, he added.
"The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrag Dal are getting tacit support from the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) which is part of the ruling coalition in the state to instigate violence in the state," he alleged.
A fact-finding team of Swami Agnivesh, Shabnam Hashmi and Vimal Thorat recently visited the state to enquire about recent violence in Kandhamal.
"To some extend, the repeat 2002 Gujarat riots are taking place in Orissa. With the same preparedness and planning," claimed social activist Shabnam Hashmi.
"We heard reports there that the attackers had lists with them while targeting the victims," she alleged.
"It is very surprising that while we were not allowed to go into area, but were asked to wait till September fourth. VHP leader Pravin Togadia was allowed into the region with full police protection," Agnivesh said.
"What is more strange is that the Union Home Minister for State Sri Prakash Jaiswal was turned back as state refused to give him any security to the troubled area," he added.