Monday, June 08, 2009

Orissa nun rape case: Chargesheet filed against seven

Bhubaneswar : Unable to nab two of the 19 accused persons in the nun rape case, the Crime Branch (CB) of Orissa police moved the court seeking legal sanctions to declare the duo as absconders even as it filed chargesheet against seven others on Friday.

Though the CB sleuths had so far arrested 17 persons on charges of their alleged involvement in the rape of a 29-year-old catholic nun at Kandhamal on August 25, 2008, it failed to arrest the two others even as several notices had been served at their addresses.

The duo identified as Gururam Patra and Pandit Bisi Majhi neither responded to the CB notices, nor cooperated with the investigation despite several warnings, a senior official engaged in the investigation said.

We can hang notices on the doors of the accused persons if the court allows us to declare them as absconder, Investigating Officer of the nun rape case, Dilip Kumar Mohanty said adding that the police could seize their property if they fail to surrender before the investigating agency.

Meanwhile, the CB had already filed chargesheet against the 17 persons in two phases. While chargesheets were filed at Sub-divisional Judicial Magistrate's (sdjm) court at Baliguda earlier, similar documents were produced at the court against seven other accused on Friday.

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Kandhamal: Posters against BJP MP

Still recovering from last year’s communal riots, Kandhamal witnessed fresh tension on Thursday after hand-written posters containing threats to a local BJP legislator — accused of leading murderous mobs during the riots — appeared in Raikia area of the district.

Kandhamal Superintendent of Police Praveen Kumar said at least two posters warning G Udayagiri’s BJP MLA Manoj Pradhan and Bajrang Dal activists of dire consequences for “their role in the riots” were found pasted in Raikia.

This is the place which bore the brunt of the anti-Christian riots that followed the killing of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda. At least 38 people were killed in the riots and hundreds were rendered homeless in the violence.

Police officials said the threat posters could have been the handiwork of Maoists as the area has a strong rebel presence. But they said they were also examining other possibilities.

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Pastor beaten up in Hosur

Uddinapally, 8 June 2009: Pastor Paul Chinnaswamy (50) was attacked by two young men on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. while he was sitting in front of his church in Uddinapally, Hosur Taluk, Krishnagiri District in Tamil Nadu.

Pastor Paul was fasting on Saturday morning and sitting outside his church alone when the attackers, both around thirty years old, came on a bike and stopped in front of the pastor. They asked him, “Why do you have to do these things?” Without another word, they got off the bike. One of them kicked the pastor in his chest so hard that the pastor dropped to the ground in pain. Before he could get up, the other man punched the pastor in his jaw, breaking two of his teeth.

About 200 meters away, there were several villagers who were making bricks. When they saw the pastor being attacked, they ran towards him to help him. When the attackers saw the villagers running towards them, they got on their bike and fled. The villagers picked up the pastor and rushed him to a nearby clinic for first aid.

After the pastor was attended to medically, the villagers and he went to the nearby Uddinapally Police Station and lodged a complaint there. When asked by the police if he knew who his attackers were, the pastor said he did not know them and had not even noticed their number plate, but he could recognize them if he saw them. Hearing this the police took him to three surrounding villages but the pastor was not able to identify his attackers.

It is most likely that the attackers were from a distant village and from radical Hindu groups. This is one of several attacks that have occurred against Pastor Paul over the past few years. He has been warned several times by the police to be careful of Hindutva groups in the area. His family and his home have been attacked several times over 2007-2008 and he has received numerous threats as well.

At the time of the attack, Pastor Paul was alone. His family was visiting his ailing mother-in-law in Kelamangalam, 8 kms away from Uddinapally.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Hindu extremists burn three Christian homes in Kandhamal

by Nirmala Carvalho

The victims identified the ring leaders, but the police have advised them against naming him on the report. The attack took place on May 31st, the very day the armies sent to protect Christians in the area withdrew.

Bhubaneshwar (AsiaNews) - Three Christian houses, were set on fire by Hindu extremists in Sirsapanga village of Kandhamal, (Orissa). The episode took place on May 31st in the evening, the very day the Central reserve police force (Crf), sent to the area to protect the Christians, began their phased withdrawal as mandated by the central government. The incident seems aimed at stopping from Christians returning to their villages.

The three houses belong to Manoj Pradhan, Lankeswar and Sunil Digal and lie only 3 km from the headquarters of the Crpf. Eyewitnesses report that the extremist group celebrated the police withdrawal by attacking the homes. Deployed for months across the region to halt assaults and another pogrom of the Christians, the New Delhi government decided to withdraw the Crpf. The Orissa governor, Naveen Patnaik, has however asked the Minister for Internal Affairs Chidambaram to leave the last 10 companies - circa 1000 men – at least for another three months.

The withdrawal coincides with the closure of the refugee camps and the Orissa governments appeal to the Christians to prepare for their return to their home villages. On June 5th the district administration in Kandhamal organised a peace meeting between the Christians in the camps and the communities of their local villages. Fr. Bijay Pradhan, parish priest in Raikia, sees in the burning of the three homes in Sirsapanga “an attempt to stop this”.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (Gcic), explains that “The Christians from Sirsapanga village have not returned to the village, they are still in the Refugee camps. The administration is keen that the people go back to the villages and be resettled, so occasionally, the Christians go to their homes and try to make some temporary repairs. This is being objected to by the dominant community, and the burning of the three Christians homes is an attempt to control our people”.

The situation is still unstable. The three owners of the burned houses in Sirsapanga have presented official reports to the police. According to Fr.Ajay Kumar Singh, Director of Jan Vikas, Social Action Initiative “the gang was led by Dilu Mohanty, who is mastermind behind attacks against Christians in Raikia and G.Udayagiri”. The victims identified him in First Information Report. “But the police – continues Fr. Singh – asked them to change tehir report ommitting the extremist agng leaders name”.

“Culprits [of the violence] continue to roam about freely, - concludes Fr. Pradhan - and some of them threaten our people that if they don’t withdraw their police reports against them, they will not be able to return to their villages”.

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