Thursday, December 09, 2010

Orthodox school attacked in Jabalpur

A group of rightwing Hindu activists yesterday attacked an Orthodox school in a central Indian town in protest at disciplinary actions against three students, witnesses say.

The group forced their way into the visitors’ room of St. Mary’s Higher Secondary School in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh and shouted anti-Christian slogans, reports.

They then smashed a picture of the Blessed Virgin in the visitors’ room state before staff prevented them from further action.

Another group of nearly 50 young people later went to the school and threatened the staff.

School principal Father K. J. Louis said the troublemakers had been angered by the school for punishing three students for indiscipline.

The police were called and are now being asked to offer protection to the school, the principal told today.

The principal said the school acted against the students after getting their parents’ consent. They had been suspended them for 10 days in November after they were caught setting off firecrackers in the school premises.

Catholic Bishop Gerald Almeida of Jabalpur condemned the incident, which he said was part of an ongoing hate campaign against Christians in the state.

The protests are suspected members of the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people’s party) which rules Madhya Pradesh.

Christians and their institutions in the state have witnessed several incidents of violence after the BJP came to power seven years ago.

Since then, more than 180 cases of attacks on Christians have been reported from the state.

The school has started 25 years ago and has some 2,500 students.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Frustration grows in Orissa

Verdicts from fast track courts in India set up to try cases related to the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Orissa have brought little solace to the victims.
Church workers, lawyers and activists assisting victims say anger and frustration is growing as murderers, rapists, arsonists and looters, walk free, in mockery of the country’s criminal justice delivery mechanism.
Many cases have become laughing matters as shoddy investigations, sham prosecutions and money and muscle that frighten witnesses lead to acquittals.
Vrinda Grover, a Supreme Court lawyer and activist, calls Kandhamal’s fast track courts “sites of speedy injustice.”
Joining her are hundreds of victims such as Nabajini Pradhan, the niece of a tribal chief who was killed for protecting Christians. “They killed and burnt my uncle’s body to destroy evidence. I still cannot understand how the murderers were acquitted,” she says.
Ishar Digal’s mother-in-law was killed and burned but her murders were also acquitted. “We saw my mother-in-law’s killers. Yet there is no evidence.”
Christodas Nayak, whose wife was axed to death, says he is disgusted after a court acquitted 29 of the 31 accused in the case. “There were more than 5,000 people who killed my wife and a neighbor and burned more than 300 houses,” he adds.
Father Manoj Kumar Nayak, a priest working among the victims, says he fails to understand how the justice system works in Orissa. “There are witnesses who testify and even identify the accused in the court, yet the court sees no evidence,” he says.
The Hindu radicals who perpetrated the crimes burned Paul Pradhan’s house and office and forced his wife to become a Hindu. But no one was punished even though Pradhan is a lawyer.
The Orissa administration, he says, claims Kandhamal cases have more convictions than those related to the anti-Muslim cases in Gujarat, western India.
“Such comparison shows the administration is more interested in maintaining statistics than meting out justice.”
Lalita Missal, coordinator of the National Alliance of Women, Orissa Chapter, says the system gives little scope for the victims to present their version of events.
“It is pity the victims have no say in their own cases and have to be at the mercy of the public prosecutors,” she said.
Father Nicholas Barla, tribal activist, warns the Kandhamal acquittals could undermine India’s democracy. “If there is no justice, democracy would be mobocracy (rule of mob) with more crimes and chaos,” he said.
John Dayal, a prominent lay leader in India, says the way the Kandhamal cases are handled has become “a shame on the Indian justice delivery system.”
St. Joseph of Annecy Sister Justine Senapati, who works among the survivors, regrets the little attention given to rape and molestation cases. She wants special courts to try these cases.
Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur diocese said the large rate of acquittals has alarmed him. He says punishments are “far too minimal” in the few convictions that have been secured. They are so light as to be no deterrent at all, he says.
“Fines should be recovered and given as compensation to the victims, only then will criminals feel the heat.”

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Five Christians killed in a landmine blast in Kandhamal, Orissa

Five Christians, including a pregnant woman and a child, were killed in a landmine blast in Orissa on Saturday.

The blast occurred around 11 p.m. on Saturday at Bamumigam, a village in Kandhamal district, the focus of months-long anti-Christian violence two years ago.

The deceased were returning to their village of Tajungia in an ambulance from a hospital where the woman had gone for checkup. The blast also killed her husband, a health worker and the driver.

Parts of their bodies were found some 500 meters away and the blast created a 10 feet deep crater on the road.

No one has claimed responsibility for the blast but police suspect Maoists. Others suspect other radical groups may be to blame.

The blast is believed to be the first attack on an ambulance in Orissa. A running battle between Maoists and security forces has been going on in the state for some time.

On Nov. 25, Maoists allegedly killed Manoj Kumar Sahu, a contractor, in the same area of the landmine blast.

Church workers have condemned the blast.

“Whatever happened is unfortunate,” said Divine Word Father Nicholas Barla, a tribal activist. Targeting “innocent lives reflects lawlessness and it has to stop,” the priest told on Nov. 29.

Sister Justine Senapti, a human rights activist, said the blast is condemnable whoever was behind it. “Since we cannot create life, we have no right to take it away,” the St. Joseph of Annecy nun added.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Will Obama tell India to end Hindutva terror?

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US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle are visiting India in early November 2010. In this connection Obama conveyed to Indian External Affairs Minister SM Krishna at a reception of Natural History Museum in New York. Obama added that his wife Mrs. Michelle is excited about the trip. Indian leadership is anxiously waiting to welcome the president of global power because of obvious reasons. But the victims of the Hindu’s holocaust are waiting that whether the head of a global power has the courage to ask Indian leadership to end Hindutve Terror. Obamas’ curiosity has its own reasons because of his wife’s first visit of so called secular state but at the same time Americans’ responsible staff should arrange factual briefing, reflecting true Indian face.
The US couple must know that Indian troops so far killed more than 3.2 to 3.4 million Sikhs; more than 120,000 Muslims of the occupied ‘Internationally Disputed Areas of Jammu and Kashmir; more than 500,000 Muslims in general; more than 312,500 Christians; over 15,000 Tamils; more than 15,000 civilians of the 7-sister of Assam; hundreds of thousand Dalits; hundreds thousand of Adivaasis or Moolnivasis. These Sikhs, Muslims and non-Hindus and non-Brahmins minorities were killed, because they were neither Brahmins nor the Hindus. Both the ‘Brahmins-Hindus politicians or law-makers and the personnel of armed forces need one another to protect their own skin, since 15th August, 1947.
The matter of concern for the international monitoring organizations of human rights is that Indian authorities instead of giving rights to the minorities have put their leadership behind the bar. In an “e-mail”, a Maoist’s leader with the promise of anonymity told me that he is in the jail since couple of years and are being thrashed and tortured in the jails. In September 2010, it was the first time when he had been able to access to the internet. He has not been allowed to receive or send text messages for three months. He further elaborated that just like all kashmiries his telephone has been barred from such contacts.
The parties like BJP, RSS and Shiv Sena under the leadership extremists’ Hindu leadership like Ball Thakara always motivated and backed extremists Hindu against Christians, Sikhs and Muslims. It is notable here that since couple of years Indian government with the help of Hindu terrorists is making deliberate attempts to further deplete the minorities Karnataka, Kashmir, Gujarat Ameristar, Manipur and Orissa states. Compass Direct News (CDN) mentioned in their report of October 13, 2010 that police in a south Indian state known is for turning to minority Christians. In recent years local police have arrested two suspected Hindu nationalists for beating four pastors and striking the wife of one of them in the stomach, killing her unborn child. These suspects were indirectly supporting by the local authorities and police. According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the attack took place at a Christian gathering in a private Christian school when they were to celebrate the birth of Mahatma Gandhi on Oct. 2 in Chintamani, (Karnataka state’s Kolar district).
About 40 people barged into New Public School during the concluding prayer that morning and began selectively beating the pastors and Kejiya Fernandes, wife of one identified only as Pastor Fernandes. Chintamani police arrived but the attack went on, and when it ended at noon officers took the Christians to the station instead of arresting the attackers. It is also added here that the poor Christian were also denied medical attention. The injured Christians were released at 7:30 p.m. only after Kejiya Fernandes began to bleed profusely, GCIC reported. She and her husband later received hospital treatment, where she lost the baby she had been carrying for four months, according to GCIC.
The attack was reportedly carried out to avenge an alleged insult to Hindu gods during the Christian gathering, with the accused also having filed a police complaint, added Prakash, who visited the area and the Christian victims this week. However, the complaint against the Christians was for “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” (Section 295-a), and, strangely, Section 324 for “voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means,” among other charges. The Christians were not arrested, as a court granted them anticipatory bail.
According to the report, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whose birthday the Christians were celebrating, was a friend with Christian missionaries during British rule and taught religious tolerance. The acclaimed Hindu, India’s greatest political and spiritual leader was killed in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, who was allegedly influenced by the ideology of the Hindu extremist conglomerate Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. It is quite alarming that for the last three years, Karnataka has been seen as the hub of Christian persecution in India. More than 152 attacks on Christians in 2009, 86 were reported in Karnataka, according to the EFI. This year, too, Karnataka is likely to top anti-Christian attacks. According to the GCIC, at least 47 attacks on Christians in the state had been reported as of Sept. 26. Persecution of Christians in Karnataka increased particularly after the August 2008 anti-Christian mayhem in eastern Orissa state, where Maoists killed a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader but Hindu extremists wrongly blamed it on local Christians.
The attacks in Orissa’s Kandhamal district killed more than 100 people and burned 4,640 houses, 252 churches and 13 educational institutions. While Hindu nationalists had targeted and were working in Karnataka for close to two decades, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to sole power in the state for the first time in the history of independent India in May 2008. Prior to that, the BJP ruled in coalition with a local party, the Janata Dal-Secular, for 20 months. It is believed that the victory of the BJP has led to the violence in Orissa, which was also ruled by a coalition that included the BJP – emboldened Hindu extremists, who now enjoy greater impunity due to the party’s incumbency. Despite the high incidence of persecution of minorities in Karnataka, BJP leaders deny it, alleging complaint are the result of a political conspiracy of opposition parties. There are a little more than 1 million Christians in Karnataka, where the total population is more than 52 million, mostly Hindus.Thus, in this connection we can say that the worries of minorities are increasing day by day and continuous gross violation of human rights in India is further aggravating the problem. Interestingly, during the period of the British Empire administration, 19th to 20th centuries, no Sikh and/or Muslims Lt.-Generals were court marshaled. This is the reflection that only the ‘Brahmins-Hindus’ in the Indian armed forces are corrupt and criminals. The sate of minorities in India is so pathetic that they even are not allowed in open to perform their religious obligations. The local news channels have been banned in the Kashmir and affected areas. The overall situation in Maoist, Nagaland, Orissa and Kashmir are dreadful.
Indian Chief of Army Staff Gen V K Singh has failed to stop his troops to stop brutality against minorities. He is just busy in threatening and interfering in neighbouring countries’ internal affairs. In this regard, on October 15, 2010 said that China and Pakistan are two major irritants for India’s security and about the possibility of a war in a nuclear scenario, saying they were “jingoistic” and “unwise”. While rejecting Indian Chief comments, Islamabad Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said in a statement: “The government of Pakistan takes a serious exception to the reported statement of the Indian Army chief about his threat perception from Pakistan, war under a nuclear scenario and uncalled for and gratuitous comments on the internal affairs of Pakistan.” In fact, Indian Chief has started sprinkling venom against China and Pakistan by design due to the forthcoming visit of Obama. He also tried to divert the attention of international community and particularly Americans from extremists’ Hindu brutality against Christians. Probably, he was in the knowledge that Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) and others minorities has planned to protest against Indian brutality on arrival of President Obama. GCIC is also approaching Obama administration to pressurize India to stop Hindu extremism against Christians. But question arises, whether the president of lonely supper power will ask India to end Hindutva Terror or give preference in making economical gains at the cost of killing of his own community in the hands of Hindu extremists’ terrorists.

RSS involved in almost all riots in the country: Congress

Uttar Pradesh Congress asked the Central and state governments to monitor the activities of RSS and ban the "fundamentalist" organisation if its activities could not be controlled.

"I demand from the Centre and state governments to keep an eye on activities of RSS, which is involved in almost all the riots that took place in the country. If activities of this fundamentalist organisation could not be controlled, it should be banned," UPCC chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi told reporters here.

Commenting on the name of a senior RSS leader figuring in the chargesheet in the 2007 Ajmer blast, Joshi alleged that either RSS, BJP or their offshoots were involved in most of the communal riots.

"The RSS is destroying unity of the country so its activities should remain under scanner," Joshi said while claiming that the organisation was involved in blasts at Mecca Masjid mosque, Jaipur, Samjhauta Express.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Christian in India suffers miscarriage in Hindu extremist attack

NEW DELHI – Police in a south Indian state known for turning hostile to minority Christians in recent years have arrested two suspected Hindu nationalists for beating four pastors and striking the wife of one of them in the stomach, killing her unborn child.
The attack took place at a Christian gathering in a private Christian school to celebrate the birth of Mahatma Gandhi on Oct. 2 in Chintamani, in Karnataka state’s Kolar district, reported the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).
About 40 people barged into New Public School during the concluding prayer that morning and began selectively beating the pastors and Kejiya Fernandes, wife of one identified only as Pastor Fernandes. Chintamani police arrived but the attack went on, and when it ended at noon officers took the Christians to the station instead of arresting the attackers.
Denied medical attention, the injured Christians were released at 7:30 p.m. only after Kejiya Fernandes began to bleed profusely, GCIC reported. She and her husband later received hospital treatment, where she lost the baby she had been carrying for four months, according to GCIC.
Pastor Fernandes received an injury to his ear. The three other victims, identified only as pastors Robert, Muthu and Kenny, all ministered in a local independent church.
Of the 12 suspects named in the police complaint, two were arrested the same day, and the rest are absconding, said attorney Jeeva Prakash, who is associated with the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s (EFI) advocacy department.
The police complaint against the 12 includes “causing death of quick unborn child by act amounting to culpable homicide” (Section 316 of the Indian Penal Code), and “intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace” (Section 504). No charges related to defiling a religious place or gathering or creating communal conflict were included.
All the accused are residents of Chintamani city and suspected to be associated with Hindu nationalist groups.
The attack was reportedly carried out to avenge an alleged insult to Hindu gods during the Christian gathering, with the accused also having filed a police complaint, added Prakash, who visited the area and the Christian victims this week.
The complaint against the Christians was for “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs” (Section 295-a), and, strangely, Section 324 for “voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means,” among other charges.
The Christians were not arrested, as a court granted them anticipatory bail.
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whose birthday the Christians were celebrating, was friends with Christian missionaries during British rule and taught religious tolerance. The acclaimed Hindu, India’s greatest political and spiritual leader, was killed in 1948 by Nathuram Godse, who was allegedly influenced by the ideology of the Hindu extremist conglomerate Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
For the last three years, Karnataka has been seen as the hub of Christian persecution in India. Of the more than 152 attacks on Christians in 2009, 86 were reported in Karnataka, according to the EFI.
This year, too, Karnataka is likely to top anti-Christian attacks. According to the GCIC, at least 47 attacks on Christians in the state had been reported as of Sept. 26. Persecution of Christians in Karnataka increased particularly after the August 2008 anti-Christian mayhem in eastern Orissa state, where Maoists killed a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader but Hindu extremists wrongly blamed it on local Christians.
The attacks in Orissa’s Kandhamal district killed more than 100 people and burned 4,640 houses, 252 churches and 13 educational institutions.
While Hindu nationalists had targeted and were working in Karnataka for close to two decades, the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to sole power in the state for the first time in the history of independent India in May 2008. Prior to that, the BJP ruled in coalition with a local party, the Janata Dal-Secular, for 20 months.
It is believed that the victory of the BJP – and later the violence in Orissa, which was also ruled by a coalition that included the BJP – emboldened Hindu extremists, who now enjoy greater impunity due to the party’s incumbency.
Despite the high incidence of persecution of minorities in Karnataka, BJP leaders deny it, alleging complaint are the result of a political conspiracy of opposition parties.
There are a little more than 1 million Christians in Karnataka, where the total population is more than 52 million, mostly Hindus.

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Friday, August 27, 2010


24 AUGUST 2010

The National People’s Tribunal (NPT) on Kandhamal, held in New Delhi on 22-24 August 2010, was organized by the National Solidarity Forum - a countrywide solidarity platform of concerned social activists, media persons, researchers, legal experts, film makers, artists, writers, scientists and civil society organizations to assist the victims and survivors of the Kandhamal violence 2008 to seek justice, accountability and peace and to restore the victim-survivors’ right to a dignified life.

The jury of the NPT was headed by Justice A.P. Shah, former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. Joining him as jury members were Harsh Mander (member of National Advisory Council), Mahesh Bhatt (film maker and activist), Miloon Kothari (former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing), P. S. Krishnan (retired Secretary, Government of India), Rabi Das (senior journalist based in Bhubaneswar), Ruth Manorama (women and dalit rights activist), Sukumar Muralidharan (Delhi-based free lance journalist), Syeeda Hameed (member of Planning Commission, Government of India), Vahida Nainar (expert on international law, mass crimes and gender), Vinod Raina (scientist and social activist with a specific focus on right to education), Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat (former Chief of Naval Staff) and Vrinda Grover (advocate, Delhi High Court).



Thousands of dalits and tribals belonging to the Christian minorities in the Kandhamal region of Orissa were victims of organized violence starting in August 2007. According to government figures during the last bout of violence from August to December 2008, in Kandhamal district alone more than 600 villages were ransacked, 5600 houses were looted and burnt, 54000 people were left homeless, 38 people were murdered. Human rights groups estimate that over 100 people were killed, including women, disabled and aged persons and children; and an unestimated number suffered severe physical injuries and mental trauma. While there are reports of four women being gang-raped, many more victims of sexual assault are believed to have been intimidated into silence. 295 churches and other places of worship, big and small, were destroyed. 13 schools, colleges, and offices of 5 non-profit organizations damaged. About 30,000 people were uprooted and lived in relief camps and continue to be displaced. During this period about 2,000 people belonging to minority communities were forced to repudiate their Christian faith. More than 10,000 children had their education severely disrupted due to displacement and fear. Today, after two years, the situation has not improved, although the administration time and again claims it is peaceful and has returned to normalcy. With a view to create conditions for justice and accountability for the violence, the National Solidarity Forum organized a National People’s Tribunal (NPT) on 22-24 August 2010 at the Constitution Club in Delhi. The objectives of the Tribunal were:

1. To provide a platform for victim-survivors and their families to voice their experiences, perceptions, demands and aspirations to civil society at large;

2. To study and analyse the long-term and short-term causes and impact of the Kandhamal violence;

3. To assess the role, conduct and responsibility of various organizations, groups of individuals or persons, in influencing, precipitating and escalating the violence;

4. To assess the role played by the state and district administration and public officials, including the police, before, during and after the pogrom;

5. To assess the functioning of the criminal justice system for fixing criminal accountability and prosecuting the guilty;

6. To study and analyse the various rights of victims and survivors that have been violated during the violence and thereafter;

7. To recommend both short-term and long-term remedial measures for promoting an efficient delivery of justice and reparations, and for strengthening peace-building, prevention of communal violence and secularism; and

8. To present the findings and recommendations before civil society, including the media, and to persuade the government and other agencies to pursue the necessary follow up action to restore dignity, right to life, justice and peace to the victim-survivors of Kandhamal violence.

The Tribunal heard 43 victims, survivors and their representatives, and 15 experts who presented studies / fact-finding reports on the Kandhamal violence. Documentation related to each case, consisting of affidavits, court documents, medical and other supporting documents, as well as copies of reports and studies on the violence were placed before the jury for its perusal. The depositions were on a range of issues including a) adivasi and dalit rights to religious and culture freedom; b) role of police, administration and the criminal justice system; c) issues relating to housing, compensation, relief, rehabilitation, food and livelihood, displacement and migration of the victims; d) impact on children and their education; e) gender violence and violations of human rights; and f) role of media, political parties, and civil society in peace and reconciliation processes. Formal invitations were extended to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Women’s Development and Child Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, as well as the National Human Rights Commission, National Commission for Minorities, National Commission for Scheduled Castes, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes and National Commission for Women to participate in the proceedings of the Tribunal. However, there was no participation from the concerned ministries and commissions.


The jury records its shock and deep concern for the heinous and brutal manner in which the members of the Christian community, a vast majority of who are dalits and tribals were killed, dismembered, sexually assaulted and tortured. The deliberate destruction of evidence pertaining to these crimes came to the attention to the jury. There was rampant and systematic looting and destruction of houses and places of worship and means of livelihood. The victim-survivors continue to be intimidated and systematically denied protection and access to justice.

From the testimonies heard and the detailed reports received, the jury is convinced that the carnage in Kandhamal is an act of communalism mainly directed against the Christian community, a vast majority of who are of scheduled caste origin and anyone who supported or worked with the community. It is clear to us that there was deliberate strategy of targeting of the community, fed by groups of the Hindutva ideology such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajrang Dal and the active members of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The jury is further convinced that the communal violence in Kandhamal was the consequence of a subversion of constitutional governance in which state agents were complicit.

The jury acknowledges and appreciates the courage, determination and resilience of the victim-survivors and the human rights defenders supporting them, who have braved physical, psychological and economic hardships and intimidation to tell their stories before this Tribunal, thereby breaking the culture of silence. After listening to the myriad accounts of all the victim-survivors and their representatives, as well as the experts who presented a summary of their studies / fact-finding reports on the Kandhamal violence, the jury offers the following preliminary findings and recommendations:


The jury observes that a majority of victim-survivors and their families are from marginalized groups, particularly from the dalit and adivasi (SC and ST) Christian community, and that most live in abject poverty and on the brink of despair. The victim-survivors and their families are yet to obtain justice, rehabilitation or regain a right to life with dignity. The victims/survivors have undergone incredible hardships, including physical and psychological trauma, threats and humiliation, deprivation of a dignity, an extensive loss of movable and immovable property, a source and means of livelihood and their right to a decent standard of living - including food, housing, education and health services. They have faced persecution in all its forms – such as social and economic boycott as well as religious, caste-based and cultural discrimination. They live under a constant threat to their lives and personal security and continue to suffer from trauma. The consequence is that even two year after the outbreak of the violence, the victim-survivors are unable to return to their villages and resume their normal way of life. They continue to be subjected to constant and overt manifestations of communal, caste and class-based discrimination. All victim-survivors and their representatives who deposed before the Tribunal strongly articulated their demand for justice and security.

The jury observes that communal forces have used religious conversions as an issue for political mobilisation and to incite horrific forms of violence and discrimination against the Christians of SC origin and their supporters in Kandhamal. The object is to dominate them and ensure that they never rise above their low caste status and remain subservient to the upper castes. The jury observes, with deep concern, that a range of coercive tactics have been used by the communal forces for conversion or re-conversion of a person into the Hindu fold, including threat, intimidation, social and economic boycott and coercion, as well as the institutionalization of humiliating rituals. The state and district administrations have, on no occasion, intervened to protect the freedom of religion and freedom of expression.

The jury observes, with concern, the institutionalised communal and casteist bias of state agencies, and their deliberate dereliction of constitutionally mandated duties, their connivance with communal forces, participation in and support to the violence and a deliberate scuttling of processes of justice through acts of commission and omission. The state agencies have blatantly failed to extend much-needed institutional support to victim-survivors and protect them from ostracism, socio-economic boycott and subjugation by non-state actors.


A. State’s Complicity and Collusion

· Institutional Bias: All testimonies and reports have pointed towards the complicity of the police – senior officers as well as the constabulary – during the phase of violence, and their collusion with the wrongdoers during the phase of investigation and prosecution. Based on the testimonies, the jury concludes that this was not an aberration of a few individual police men, but evidence of an institutional bias against the targeted Christian community.

· Failure to Prevent the Violence: The police deliberately failed to prevent the violence by a) non-implementation of the recommendations made by the National Commission for Minorities in its reports of January and April 2008; b) permitting the funeral procession of Swami Lakshmananda through a 170 kilometre route through communally sensitive areas; c) allowing hate speeches and incitement to violence; d) allowing a series of programmes by the communal forces (such as the bandh of 25 August 2008, shraddhanjali sabhas and dharnas by Hindu religious leaders). In particular, the permission given by the state administration to the funeral procession cannot, in any way, be a mere lapse of judgment. The state agencies displayed long overdue political resolve when they stopped VHP leader Praveen Togadia from visiting Kandhamal in March 2010. This late awakening was however, of little help to the victim-survivors of the district.

· Suspension of Police Officials: Many witnesses deposed about the failure of the police to protect them from the violence and their refusal to register First Information Reports subsequently. There were long delayed actions to check police complicity, when five police officials were suspended for misconduct and negligence in connection with the sexual assault on Sister Meena, and the identification of 13 police officials for failure to protect persons and property in Kandhamal by A.K. Upadhyay, DIG (Training).

· Destruction of Evidence by Public Officials: The jury is constrained to observe that public officials have colluded in the destruction of evidence and there is testimony directly implicating the District Collector in this misdemeanour (Case No. 24)

B. Communal Forces, Freedom of Religion and Discrimination

· Forcible Conversions: Testimonies pointed towards forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism during the violence and subsequently, as a condition for their return to their villages. No known action has been initiated against any of the perpetrators by the administration under the provisions either of criminal law, or the state’s Freedom of Religion Act.

· Serious Violation of Religious Freedom: The violent intimidation of the Christian community, accompanied by social sanctions against the practice of Christianity, the destruction and desecration of places of worship, the forcible conversions to Hinduism, the killing and torture of victims and survivors for their refusal to repudiate their faith, are all acts violative of the constitutional guarantees of right to life, equality and non-discrimination, as well as the right to religious freedom.

· The Role of Hindutva forces: The accused identified in all witness testimonies were members of Hindutva organisations. This is substantiated by the response of Orissa Chief Minister, to a query raised in the state Legislative Assembly, on 23 November 2009. In his written response, Mr. Naveen Pattnaik said that pursuant to investigation, 85 members of the RSS, 321 members of the VHP and 118 members of the Bajrang Dal had been arrested.

· Discrimination on the Basis of Caste and Religion: The targeted violence against dalit Christians, as well as the continued discrimination against them are violative of Constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination, right to a dignified life and the prohibition of untouchability. Further, they amount to a serious violation of all provisions of the UN Convention on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a convention ratified by India. The Concluding Observations of its forty-ninth session held in August/September 1996 (as it reviewed India's tenth to fourteenth periodic reports under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, 1965), the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination affirmed that "the situation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes falls within the scope of" the Convention.[1][1] The Committee states that "descent" contained in Article 1 of the Convention does not refer solely to race, and includes the situation of scheduled castes and tribes.

C. Sexual Violence and Other Gender Concerns

· Silence and Invisibility: The jury observes, with deep concern, that silence continues to prevail in matters of sexual assault. This applies at all levels, including documenting, reporting, investigating, charging and prosecuting cases. Though witness testimonies show that sexual violence was rampant, there are only five reported cases, and an even smaller number that have been registered and are pending in the courts. One of the testimonies refers to the gang rape (Case No. 3), but none of the accused has been formally charged.

· Special Vulnerability of Women: While all victims and survivors face intimidation and threats, women face the additional danger of sexual violence not just against themselves but also against their daughters (Case No. 12). The immediate consequence of such threats is a hightened sense of vulnerability and a restriction on their movement. The jury observes that the threat of sexual assault against women continues to be used as a tool to prevent families from returning to their villages, to prevent women from resuming their livelihood activities, and pursuing justice.

· Violation of international covenants: The pattern of violence against women is violative of constitutional guarantees of equality, non-discrimination on the ground of sex as well as a right to life with dignity. In addition, the attacks violate international standards, including the UN Convention on Elimination of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) which has been ratified by India. The CEDAW Committee, through General Recommendation 19, has clarified that gender-based violence, that is, violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately, amounts to discrimination against women.

D. Failure of the Criminal Justice System

· Arbitrary Exercise of Discretionary Power: The jury observes, with concern, an arbitrary exercise of the discretionary power vested in the police and the prosecuting agencies. In many instances, the police have refused to register FIRs, have delayed registering FIRs by 2-5 months, and dissuaded victim-survivors from registering FIRs and coerced them to omit the names of perpetrators and other details from the FIRs, particularly if they indicated the complicity of public officials or members of communal organizations. Victim-survivors were also shunted between various police stations for registration of FIRs in contexts where their safety was at risk.

· Arrests: Many victim-survivors deposed before the jury that the perpetrators of heinous crimes had not been arrested, and were roaming freely and continuing to threaten, intimidate and humiliate them. Testimonies point to an inordinate delay in arresting the perpetrators, and a failure to arrest many more, contributing to an overall climate of impunity. Honest police officials who attempted to arrest perpetrators were threatened. Testimonies indicate that victim-survivors were often threatened with arrest under fabricated charges in order to silence them and deter them from pursuing justice.

· Investigation & Prosecution: The deliberate destruction of evidence, particularly of killings, through the burning or disposal of bodies, has resulted in the absence of forensic evidence in many cases. Investigations were marked by a neglect of the basic requirements of gathering evidence, which severely impaired the efficacy of the prosecution. Delay in obtaining forensic evidence, failure in obtaining corroborative evidence and the rampant intimidation of victim-survivors and witnesses, have led to many acquittals.

· Appreciation of Evidence by the Fast Track Courts: Upon perusal of judgments, affidavits and statements, the jury concludes that the judicial weighing of evidence failed to recognise the extraordinary context in which these mass crimes have been committed. Minor discrepancies in witness testimonies in court have been given undue weightage, leading to an alarmingly high number of acquittals.

· Judgment and Sentencing: Studies indicate that lenient sentences have been awarded without an acknowledgment of the gravity of the crimes committed and their consequences, both in terms of heinous killings and assault, as well as rampant looting of movable property and destruction of immovable property belonging to the dalit and adivasi Christians. A fine of Rs. 2000 has been mechanically imposed, without any correlation with the value of property destroyed. Further there seems to have been little attempt to apply S. 357 of the Cr.PC which provides for an imposition of a higher amount of fine, which could be recovered and paid to victim-survivors as compensation.

· Gaps in Indian Criminal Law: The jury observes that clear gaps exist in the criminal law to prosecute and punish those responsible for targeted mass violence. These include the absence of investigative procedures and evidentiary rules relating to mass crimes, such as punishing for murder even in the absence of the body of deceased. The protections guaranteed by law to public servants obstruct their accountability. Such gaps make dispensation of justice in contexts of mass violence extremely difficult.

· Relevance of International Criminal Law: The testimonies shows that the Kandhamal violence meets all the elements of Crimes Against Humanity as defined in applicable international law. The jury has come across cases where victims were dismembered or burnt alive, constituting the crime of torture under jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals. (The International Criminal Court’s definition of torture in Article 7 does not require that torture be committed by public officials.) That a victim was forced to drink cow urine and shave his head amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

E. Protection of Victims and Witnesses, Access to Justice & Fair Trial

· Willingness to Testify in Court: Those who deposed before the Tribunal were keen, ready and willing to depose before the Fast Track courts. However, they face severe intimidation and threats. Despite the concerned authorities being informed, no steps have been taken to provide any protection to the witnesses and victim-survivors.

· Hostile Atmosphere in Court: The atmosphere in the trial court (Fast Track courts) was described as hostile. The atmosphere was fearful as the accused were accompanied by a large number of persons representing the accused, and from communal forces. The atmosphere in court is not conducive to a fair trial. There has been no initiative taken, either by the Prosecutor or the court, to hold the proceedings in camera.

· Absence of Safe Passage: Victims who have dared to lodge complaints & witnesses who have courageously given evidence in court are unable to return to their homes. There is no guarantee of safe passage to and from the courts. They are living in other cities and villages, many of them in hiding, as they apprehend danger to their lives.

· Threat of Sexual Assault: Women victims and witnesses have received constant threats of sexual violence and rape to themselves and their daughters. Ironically most of the accused roam freely and live in their villages and homes.

· Absence of Free Legal Aid: Since most of the victim-survivors are from underprivileged communities, there is a dire need for quality legal aid services at state expenses. None of those who deposed before us had been extended free legal aid services. Most victim-survivors have been supported in court through the initiatives of non-profit organizations. The failure of the state to provide free legal aid has contributed substantially to an absence of fair trial.

F. Concerns Related to Children

The most important finding related to children status in Kandhamal is sense of hopelessness, injustice discrimination and fear prevailing among children, threatening to severely impact their growth and development.

· Mental Health: Children are in deep state of mental trauma. There has been no trauma counselling for the affected children and adolescents in Kandhamal. Even today they have night mares of running in the jungle, with the killers in pursuit, are scared of any loud sound and are afraid of people walking in groups or talking loudly.

· Education: Large number of children has dropped out of school due to financial and social insecurity and many have them have gone out for work. Many of them had to discontinue their education due to discrimination meted out to them by the school authority and also in some cases by children in schools. Many children were forced to change school and many of them opted for residential schools out of the state. Post violence many dropped out due to the inability of the families to bear the expenses, fear, and also due to lack of facilities to commute to school.

· Child Labour: Many children have left education and have gone to Kerala, Surat and neighbouring states. Even girls have gone to Udhagamandalam (Ooty) and working in coffee plantation. there is no data available with the district Labour Office regarding the present status of child labour in the state. Last child labour census in the district was done in 1997.

· Child Trafficking: There are rise incidences of trafficking for children, mainly for labour, sexual exploitation and abuse. Though there are no consolidated data on number of children being trafficked post violence in the district, we have come across some instances.

G. Reparations

· Compensation: Compensation for loss of life, injuries and loss of / damage to property has been awarded in an extremely arbitrary manner. The amounts awarded are grossly inadequate and do permit victim-survivors to regain the standards of living enjoyed prior to the violence. The award of compensation does not recognize sexual assault or the extent of loss of house and movable property destruction, the exclusion of which has caused immense difficulties to victim-survivors and their families.

· Relief and Humanitarian Assistance: From the testimonies of victim-survivors and reports, it is evident that the relief camps did not provide for basic facilities such as nutritious food, clean water and sanitation, or adequate security. There was a lack of trauma counselling, medical assistance and other forms of humanitarian assistance that ought to have been made available to all victim-survivors in the relief camps.

· Safe Return or Resettlement: Many victim-survivors have been forced or duped into returning to their villages, where they have faced continuous threat, intimidation and fear of attacks if they did not repudiate their faith. Many victim-survivors and their families continue to live on the outskirts of their villages, without any source of livelihood. The state and district authorities have taken no proactive measures at creating an atmosphere conducive for the safe return of victim-survivors to their villages. By failing to recognize the right of all victim-survivors and their families to a safe return to their villages or resettlement at state expense, the state has grossly violated the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 1998.

· Reconstruction of Houses and Places of Worship: Some victim-survivors have been provided inadequate compensation for rebuilding their houses and many excluded from an award of compensation altogether. A majority of places of religious worship that had been damaged or destroyed during the violence, have not been re-built. The amounts awarded as compensation to some are grossly inadequate for re-building such structures, while many others have been denied compensation altogether on technical grounds. The jury strongly believes that reconstruction of houses and places of worship at state expense would restore a sense of confidence and justice among the victim-survivors and their families, and restore them to a life with dignity.

· Livelihood and Education: Many educational institutions that had been damaged or destroyed during the violence are yet to be rebuilt, thereby depriving children from victim-survivor communities of their right to education, jeopardizing their future opportunities and causing a generational setback for emerging deprived dalit communities. Many victim-survivors who lost their source of livelihood, including agricultural land and government jobs, due to the mass displacement that took place, have received no assistance from the state for a restoration of the same. Many testimonies presented before the jury highlighted the fact that victim-survivors have been illegally deprived of employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act subsequent to the violence.

· Peace-building: Although village level peace committees had been set up, the testimonies before the jury as well as studies and reports indicate that such committees have not enjoyed the confidence of the victim-survivors and have been used as a platform for further intimidation. Notably, there has been no involvement of women in peace-building and negotiating processes, which violates standards set by international law, particularly UN Security Council Resolution 1325.

H. Human Rights Defenders

Non-profit organizations and human rights defenders have been targeted for their role in assisting victims with aid, relief, rehabilitation and process of justice. Victim-survivors have testified with regard to the destruction of personal and official property, attacks and damage to the offices of such organizations. These are contrary to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders that calls upon the State to protect Human Rights Defenders and their work.


· Enquiry into and suspension of police and administrative officials responsible for grave dereliction of duty.

· Proactive prevention of programmes planned by Hindutva forces that are divisive and propagate hate such as kalash yatra, Shraddhanjali sabhas (memorial meetings) and dharnas by Hindu religious leaders of Orissa held to perform rituals to eliminate the ‘enemies of Hindus.’

· Sections 153 A and B of the Indian Penal Code be strictly enforced.

· National Legal Services Authorities at both State and Central level to set up legal cell to assist victims to register FIRs where they were not registered or inaccurately registered, re-open closed cases, and transfer pending cases to outside the Kandhamal jurisdiction.

· A Special Investigation Team (SIT) be constituted to re-examine the already registered FIRs for accuracy, examine registrations of fresh FIRs, the trials that resulted in acquittals due to intimidation and/or lack of evidence and recommend the trials that need to be transferred or fresh trial conducted outside Kandhamal;

· Proactively identify cases of sexual assault has been grossly underreported due to fear and intimidation; and recognize and charge sexual assault in FIRs where they have not been so recognized.

· Appoint Special Public Prosecutors who enjoy the confidence of the affected community.

· State must provide protection to victims and witnesses before, during and after the trial process according to the guidelines provided in the recent judgment of the Delhi High Court.

· Endorse the recommendations of the National Advisory Council of drafting a new bill on mass crimes against impunity and secure accountability for mass crimes. The draft be in accordance with the emerging international standards of individual criminal accountability for mass crimes as set in the statute of the International Criminal Court and jurisprudence of international courts and tribunals.

· Both the State and Central government adopt at the very minimum the Gujarat compensation package to enhance the compensation already announced. In addition, victims of sexual assault be included as a ground eligible for compensation and employment. , Compensation for loss of livelihood

· All mechanisms set up to improve the criminal justice response, provide reparations, including compensation and rehabilitation be based on human rights indicators and standards that recognises the fact that even after two years thousands continue to be displaced.

· State make all effort to provide medical and psychological, particularly trauma counselling to the victims/ survivors, particularly the women and children.

· The specific educational needs of the children who have suffered displacement as a result of the violence be address with measures such as bridge school under the Sarva siksha Abhiyan, Kasturba Balika Vidhyalaya for SCs and STs girls; and residential ashram schools.

· The livelihood schemes of the state and central government be particularly provided to the affected community including M G Narega and special thrust be given for the affected youth in the PM’s skill training mission.

· The special component plan for the SC and the tribal sub-plan for STs should given priority focus to the schemes directed at the affected community. Dalit Christians to be provided all non-statutory benefits available to schedule castes.

· All training centres both of administrative and police to focus on education and awareness about rights, secularism and constitutional guarantees to minorities.

· Restitution and Rehabilitation to follow the international standards set in paragraphs 16-18 and 25-29 of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and paragraphs 52 to 68 of the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development based Evictions and Displacement, 2007.

· The State should recognize the Internally Displaced Persons’ right to return to their homes and create all possible enabling conditions to facilitate such safe return in accordance with the above standards.

· Review The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act 1967 given the failure of the state machinery to prevent the violence and protect lives and properties of the people.

· Designate the affected areas as communally sensitive, appoint officers with professional integrity and sensitivity to the overall communal context and be alert to any early warning signs and develop appropriate response mechanisms to halt the brewing of hate mobilization and religious and caste-based discriminative activities.

· Given the fact that human rights violations continue to take place as outlined in this report, the NHRC should take immediate steps to initiate an investigation into the incidences of violence.

· The National Commission on protection of Children Rights should investigate the need for children of the affected community to receive trauma counselling, to respect and promote their right to education and nutrition, take specific steps to prevent child labour and child trafficking. Appropriate agencies at the central and state levels need to respond to these issues.

· All efforts by the central and state government to improve the situation in Kandhamal must comply with the provisions of international human rights instruments that India has signed and ratified including CERD, CAT, CEDAW, CESCR, CRC, , UNPCR, UNDHR.

· Confidence-building and peace-building initiatives by the state and district administration should have the participation of members of the affected community, particularly women.

· The state and district administration should, with immediate effect, implement the recommendations of the National Commission for Minorities, issued in their reports of January, April and September 2008

Justice A.P. Shah, Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court

Harsh Mander, Member National Advisory Council

Mahesh Bhatt, Film maker and activist

P. S. Krishnan, Former Secretary, Government of India

Miloon Kothari, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Right to Housing

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Former Chief of Naval Staff

Syeeda Hameed, Member, Planning Commission

Vahida Nainar, Expert International law

Sukumar Muralidharan, Free lance journalist

Vinod Raina, Scientist and Social Activist, Right to Education

Ruth Manorama, Dalit & women’s rights Activist

Vrinda Grover Advocate t

Rabi Das Senior Journalist, Bhubaneswar

[1][1] Consideration of Report by India to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, CERD/C/304/Add.13, September 17, 1996.

Filmmaker held in US has RSS links

Mumbai : The Indian documentary maker arrested in Houston for carrying a prohibited weapon, and having jihadi literature with him, is a former RSS activist.

Originally a New Delhi resident, Vijay Kumar shifted to Mumbai three years ago as he wanted to make documentaries on illegal Bangladeshi migrants. A member of a “charitable trust” called Patriots’ Forum, he was passionate on the topic of illegal Bangladeshi migrants and change in demographics, says a senior member of the same forum and “good friend” D C Nath. Incidentally, Nath is a former Intelligence Bureau Special Director.

Kumar speaks chaste Hindi and was committed to the cause of “protecting the ethos of Indian civilisation”, adds Nath.

Besides this, Kumar also has interest in real estate, and tried his hand as property consultant in both New Delhi and Mumbai.

His advocate Navin Chaumal has confirmed that Kumar was earlier associated with the RSS and was very keen on “moving a PIL on the subject of illegal Bangladeshi migrants”. “He met me just days before he left for the US.” According to Nath, Kumar had spent his youth “following spirituality in the Himalayas”, after which he moved to New Delhi and tried to set up a company in security services. However, it did not take off and he shifted to real estate.

Speaking to The Indian Express from Houston, Criminal Defense Attorney Grant Scheiner said: “There are two specific custodies that Kumar is involved in. The criminal case custody (over the weapon) and the immigration custody (over the jihadi literature). We are moving the court today to get the criminal court case hearing postponed. The state is set to revoke his visa. He is expected to be in immigration custody till September 2.”

Grant added: “He is obviously frustrated with the manner things turned up... At this moment, he is still only formally charged with carrying brass knuckles, something he says he had during his travels in India for safety. He didn’t know it was prohibited here.”

The Anti-Terrorism Squad back home says they have been tracking Kumar’s case. “We are waiting for him to return. We will be calling him for questioning to understand the nature of his visit and the arrest that followed,” said ATS chief Rakesh Maria.

Nath, however, feels that “all of this will pass” and he and other members of the Patriots’ Forum are using the Internet to reach out to Indians in the US for monetary and legal assistance for Kumar.

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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Manoj Pradhan free to intimidate witnesses again

The Orissa High Court on Wednesday granted bail to Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Manoj Pradhan who was convicted in a Kandhamal communal riots case.

Pradhan, convicted by a fast track court at Phulbani on June 29 and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for seven years for his role in the killing of a Christian man during communal riots in Kandhamal in 2008, got conditional bail from the High Court.

The single judge bench of Justice B.P. Das, while granting bail to Pradhan, said the MLA would refrain from influencing witnesses in other cases pending against him.

At least six more cases, including three involving murder charges, are pending against Pradhan who had been acquitted in seven other cases.

Pradhan, however, could not be released from jail on Wednesday as he had to make a fresh bail petition in the lower court in Phulbani as per direction of the High Court, the BJP MLA’s lawyer Sarbeswar Behera said.

The BJP MLA from communally sensitive G. Udaygiri Assembly segment was sent to jail after the fast track court judge S.K. Das had pronounced the punishment for him and another person for their role in the killing of Parikhita Naik, a Christian from Budedi village near Tiangia under Raikia police station limit on August 27, 2008.

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Monday, July 05, 2010

Two persons held for attack on lecturer

Kochi, July 5 (PTI) Two persons including an activist of a fundamentalist Muslim outfit were arrested today in connection with the gruesome attack on a college lecturer whose right hand was chopped off for allegedly preparing a question paper with derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.
Jaffar of Kothamangalam and Ashraff of Mekalady were taken into custody, police said. Ashraff is reportedly an activist of the Popular Front, a fundamentalist Muslim outfit.
T J Joseph (52), a Malayalam lecturer at Christian-run Newman college, was attacked at Muvattupuzha in the district yesterday while returning from a church along with his family, including his sister and mother after attending the Sunday mass.
His vehicle was stopped by a gang of seven persons armed with axe and sticks. They burst an explosive to scare people in the vicinity before chopping off Joseph's hand.


Fanatics chop off teachers hand in Kerala

Islamist radicals in India's southern state of Kerala chopped off the hand of a college lecturer who was accused of putting a derogatory reference to the Prophet Mohammed in an exam, a newspaper reports.

TJ Joseph was returning from a church service in the central Ernakulam district on Sunday when he was attacked in "a horrific instance of Talibanism," the Times of India said in its report.

"We had just got into our car when a van pulled up. Around eight people with swords and knives emerged and pulled out Joseph after smashing the windscreen," his sister Mary Stella, a nun, told the daily.

"They chopped off his right hand and stabbed him in the left thigh," she said, adding that the assailants fled after detonating bombs.

The 52-year-old lecturer was admitted in a private hospital where his condition was described as serious.

In March, Islamic groups held protests against Joseph over part of an exam for undergraduate commerce students. They claimed that a test question had insulted the prophet.

The question quoted director PT Kunjumuhammed discussing a scene from his film Garshom in which a dialogue appears between the Prophet Mohammed and God.

Two men, said to be activists of the religious Popular Front organisation, were arrested after the attack on Sunday.

Indian security officials said Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise in Kerala, where Muslims, Christians and Hindus have lived in amity for centuries.

Some analysts have warned that Kerala could emerge as a base for militants with radical Islamic organizations holding sway, particularly in the northern Malabar area.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BJP MLA sentenced for 7 years for murder in Anti-Christian violence in Orissa in 2008

Bhubaneshwar: Manoj Pradhan, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from G Udaygiri constituency in Orissa, has been convicted and sentenced to seven years imprisonment by a fast track court for committing murder during riots in Kandhamal.

Pradhan has been convicted for committing murder during Kandhamal riots. Pradhan's accomplice Praful Malik has also been also convicted in the case.

The 30-year-old BJP MLA has five more cases related to the riots pending against him.

The murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on August 23, 2008 had sparked off riots in Kandhamal, about 200 km from Bhubaneswar.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs, who held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing although police blamed the Maoists.

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Monday, April 19, 2010

Christians protest attacks in Madhya Pradesh

Bhopal, Apr 18:
The incidents of coercing the Christian community on pretext of conversion and other serious allegations are increasing in Madhya Pradesh. They include arresting the priest in Bhopal and keeping him detained by levelling false charges under SC/ST Act against him, stopping the prayer meeting at Barwani despite prior approval of the administration, barging in of Hindu hardcore activists in the prayer mass alleging conversion in Jabalpur along with other incidents. The fundametalist organisations hold demonstration in front of churches without prior permission from the administration.
Many schemes like scholarship scheme, self-employment scheme and other schemes have been implemented by the central and state government for uplifting of economically backward people of minority groups. But despite requesting the government for several times, benefits of these schemes are not being given to Christians.

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Christian dead, Meeting attacked in Betul, Madhya Pradesh

A group of masked men attacked a Christian prayer meet in remote Sarni area of Betul district in Madhya Pradesh, police said Sunday. Locals claimed that a man died in the resulting melee after he jumped into a well in panic.

According to eyewitnesses, the man died due to the ruckus Saturday night created by the miscreants, allegedly belonging to "rightist organisations".

"The incident took place around 8.30 p.m. at Saliya village where around eight to nine masked men forced their way into the Christian prayer meeting, attacked the organisers, damaged their vehicles and fled," Sub-Divisional officer (Police) Abhishek Rajan said.

"Later, the police found a body floating in a well, located 400 meters from the prayer venue. According to the locals, the man was attending the meeting and jumped into the well in panic when the miscreants attacked," he said.

"The police are yet to ascertain whether his death was related to the attack as his body was found floating within two hours of the commotion while medical experts say that it takes at least 12 hours for a body of a drowned person to surface," Rajan said.

Several attacks on Christian meets have been witnessed in the past in tribal-dominated Balaghat district also with the latest one on April 15 when some miscreants, allegedly belonging to rightwing Hindu groups, stormed a function organised by a Protestant group and attended by over 5,000 people.

Father Lijo Antony, assistant parish priest of the lone Catholic church in the area, said: "Hindu groups tried to forcibly enter the venue alleging the programme was aimed at converting gullible tribal people."

The police imposed prohibitory orders in the area after the incident. The administration also gave protection to 23 Protestant pastors working in the area, the priest said.



Dear praying Saints

My cousin Mr. Sonu Gilbert’s son ‘Amit Gilbert’ was ministering in Salaiya near Betul, central India, on April 17th, and was attacked by Bajrang Dal . They apparently sized Amit, killed him and threw in a well. Please pray for his mother Mrs. Rani and father Mr. Sonu Gilbert.

Please pray for the following:

o The Holy Spirit will bring His comfort to the entire family and relatives

o That those persecuted Amit, will come to the repentance and find their salvation in Jesus

o This story of Martyrdom will not be used by Satan to bring fear and discouragement in the body, rather will raise the level of faith, commitment, shrewdness, and vision of those laboring in the Northern India

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” (Rev 6:9, 10) 

I also request you to forward this mail to all that can help in prayer mobilization.

Rodrick Gilbert


Attack on Christian meet, youth falls into well, dies

A Christian youth died as he fell into an open well while fleeing in panic from a group of suspected right-wing activists who attacked a prayer meeting in Salaiyya village of Betul district late on Saturday night.

Three persons, including a woman, were injured in the attack that occurred when about 400 Christians were holding a prayer meet in the village, about 12 km from the Sarni Police Station. The attackers, wearing masks, were carrying sticks and tubelights and smashed vehicles parked at the venue.

Amit Gilbert, aged around 24, had come from Raipur to attend the meeting. He fell into the well about 300 metres from the venue and suffered injuries on his head and legs. The body was fished out in the wee hours of Sunday.

The community took out a silent march in Sarni on Sunday to protest against the incident. The police have registered a case against unknown persons, Betul SP R L Prajapati told The Indian Express.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

17 acquitted again in Orissa…

BHUBANESWAR: A fast track court in Orissa on Saturday acquitted 17 people in a case of rioting in Kandhamal in 2008.
All the 17 were accused of torching houses in Shashipadar village Aug 26, 2008.
"All the seventeen accused have been acquitted as the charges leveled against them could not be proved for want of evidence," public prosecutor PK Patra said.
Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram Aug 23, 2008.
More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Two attacks against Christians in Central India. Bajrang Dal involved. Police also attacked.

15 April 2010

Balaghat, Madhya Pradesh: A Christian meeting was attacked by the Bajrang Dal and workers of BJP yesterday and today resulting in a tense situation in the entire area.

A 3 day gospel meeting had been organized by the Christian Churches of Balaghat and today was the last day of the meeting. Pastor Ram Babu was bringing the word of God for the past two evenings and the day time was devoted to Bible studies. The meetings were taking place in the Balaghat stadium with due permission and protection of the police and the local administration.

Today evening around 5 pm, Christians who were taking part in the meeting were beaten up during even as they were on the way to attend Bible Studies. At least three were beaten badly after being taken forcibly to the BJP office in Balaghat. Many were hurt during the stone pelting by Bajrang Dal workers.

In the evening the fundamentalists attacked the meeting in the presence of the police and were met with retaliation. However they were successful in damaging at least 4 vehicles. They also attacked the police in anger following which the police was forced to lathi charge the miscreants.

Yesterday the Bajrang Dal threw two petrol bombs at the meeting and one had exploded inside the meeting venue. No one was hurt.


At least 40 Bajrang Dal and Dharma Sena members attacked a team of young people in Bhilai, Chhattisgarh. The youth who are part of the brethren Church were distributing tracts in Sector 2 as reported by local sources and were also joined by their pastor Shalu Ninan.

Even Pastor Ninan was beaten up badly and when they went to lodge an FIR at the police station they found that an FIR was already lodged against them and hence they were arrested on charges of forced conversions. They are still in the lock up and attempts to bail them out are on.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

German team visits Kandhamal. Is Shocked..

A two-member team of the German Federal Parliament today expressed its deep concern over the condition of people hit by December 2007 and August 2008 riots in Kandhamal district.

Mr Ute Granold and Mr Pascal Kober of the Human Rights Committee of the Federal Parliament, who visited the riot-affected areas of the district from April 9 to 13, said they were shocked at the level of violence.

Even two years after the incident, many of the affected people were leading a miserable life and still do not have proper homes and livelihood opportunities. Most of them were yet to be compensated adequately, they said.

Many complaints were yet to be registered by police and only a few had been convicted, the delegation said, adding that the children were deprived of going to school.

The members of the German Federal Parliament, who also visited Gujarat, said they would follow up the developments in Germany.

They would also submit their findings to the German Federal Government and the Parliament.

Click here for source

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

14 Pastors arrested in Karnataka – AICC Report

New Delhi, April 7, 2010

Karnataka Police arrested 14 pastors with false accusation on Monday at Viraj Pet of Coorg District. All India Christian Council extends help for their release.

According to a source reaching to All India Christian Council (aicc) says that 14 Pastors gathered for prayer meeting and fellowship in one of their house on Friday morning were arrested by police and detained until filing of this report.

Anand Kumar, Regional Secretary of aicc Karnataka Chapter reports, “A group of people allegedly belonging to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Hindutva militant group, secretly recorded the prayers in their mobile and presented to Ponan Pet police station. A police team came and arrested the pastors while they were having lunch with false allegation of involving in forceful and fraud conversion.”

Karnataka chapter of Christian Council is sending a fact finding team and looking into the possibility of early release of the pastors.

The Christian minority in the state of Karnataka have been going through very difficult time with false accusations leveled against the innocent pastors after Hindutva Government took over in early 2008. The law of the land has been misused by the Hindutva fanatics to harass Christian minorities. Gathering for prayer among the Christian communities is even accused as fraud and fraudulence conversion.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Political Parties “cold shoulder” Kandhamal riot probe

BHUBANESWAR: The 2008 communal violence in Orissa's Kandhamal district may have attracted heated debate, but the anxiety seems to have whittled away with political parties, religious groups and the media cold-shouldering the inquiry commission set up by the government.
The one-man Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra inquiry panel has made virtually no headway in investigating the violence that followed the murder of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader on Aug 23, 2008. Thirty-eight people were killed and thousands of Christians displaced from their homes, leading to widespread concern with many blaming the government and investigating agencies for not doing enough in the matter.
But the concern did not translate into responses from the stakeholders.
"I have issued letters to all major political parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the ruling Biju Janata Dal, but most of them have not filed their statements before the commission yet," Justice Mohapatra said in an interview.
"Political parties certainly have a role in the inquiry process as there was a doubt raised about the working of the government machinery. But, except for the Communist Party of India, no other political party has come forward to file their responses," he added.
There has been a tepid response from others as well. The commission issued about 60 notices, including to media organisations, political leaders, columnists and academics.
"I have issued letters to media organisations, columnists and professors who wrote articles on this issue. But two years have passed and I am still to get their submissions," he said.
These include religious organisations who often make comments on the issue, Mohapatra added.
"I have issued notices to several Christian organisations. But I did not get desirable responses."
"I have also issued notices to media organisations that reported the incident. But not a single media organisation has come forward to file its response yet," he rued.
Amongst the few who did respond were tribal group Kui Samaj, Hindu rightwing organisation Hindu Jagaran Manch and the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath.
"Some BJP leaders also filed their responses in their individual capacities," he said.
The result of the tardy progress has meant that the commission, which was initially given six months and has already got three extensions, is still not ready with its report. The tenure of the Mohapatra investigation ends September 17, 2010, and another extension is inevitable.
"I am not at all happy with the pace of the probe. I need to find out the root of the matter. I need at least two more years to complete the probe," Mohapatra said.
Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the murder of VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on August 23, 2008.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the violence as a national shame as more than 25,000 Christians were displaced after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held them responsible for Saraswati's killing, although police blamed Maoist guerrillas.
Mohapatra, a former Orissa high court judge, was appointed in October the same year to probe the murders and the subsequent violence.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

BJP hits out at Naveen for refusing entry for Togadia in Kandhamal

Bhubaneswar (Orissa) : The BJP in Orissa has strongly criticized Naveen Patnaik led Government for refusing to grant permission to VHP International general secretary Prabin Togadia to visit Kandhamal district.
BJP State president Jual Oram said the State Government had allowed a European Union delegates to Kandhamal who met the local Christian clerics indulging in indiscriminate conversion of Hindu Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe people in the district.
The police who are framing false cases against them at the instigation by the local churches and foreign delegates representing EU countries subjects the tribal people to untold atrocities, he alleged.
The denial of permission to Togadia is unconstitutional, unreasonable, arbitrary and a deliberate affront against Hindus, said Oram, adding that the Chief Minister would remain squarely responsible for any untoward incident that might erupt due to this blatantly discriminatory treatment which is extremely challenging.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nine get jail, one acquitted in Kandhamal riots case

Bhubaneswar: Nine people were convicted and sentenced to four years in jail by a trial court on Tuesday for their role in the riots in Orissa's Kandhamal district in 2008. One man was acquitted due to lack of evidence.

'Nine people were convicted and sentenced to a four-year jail term and fined Rs.5,500 each in a case of arson during Kandhamal riots. One man named Hrushi Pradhan has been acquitted in the absence of evidence,' P.K. Patra, the public prosecutor, said.

The Fast Track Court-II Judge C.R. Das convicted the nine people of Salesaru village for torching the house of Balusan Digal and other villagers on Aug 25, 2008.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread violence after the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on Aug 23, 2008.

More than 25,000 Christians were forced to flee after their houses were attacked by rampaging mobs that held Christians responsible for Saraswati's killing, although the police blamed the Maoists.

The government has set up two fast track courts to try cases related to the communal violence.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Raped nun fails to get notice for ID parade

Police have failed to notify a Catholic nun, raped during the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Orissa, of an identity parade including a new suspect in the case.

“Unofficially we knew … that the court fixed March 8″ for the identification lineup, Lansingh Lu Rongmei, one of a team of lawyers dealing with the nun’s case told UCA News today.

“But until she gets the summons, how can she attend?” the lawyer asked.

The nun, 29, also feared going to Kandhamal and she planned to request that the court move the police lineup outside the district.

On two previous occasions, the court had allowed the lineup to be moved to Cuttack, the state’s ancient capital, as the nun did not feel safe in Kandhamal.

Kandhamal was the epicenter of the seven-week long riot where she was raped on Aug. 25.

“The district is not yet safe for the nun. And, we also do not think the police would act in a fair manner,” the lawyer said.

She accused police of standing by while the nun was paraded half naked after she had been raped.

Rongmei said the investigating officer had applied to the court in Balliguda, Kandhamal, last month for an identity parade featuring the new suspect.

Father Thomas Chellan, who was also attacked on the same day, was also due to attend but he did not receive notification either, she said.

The last time the nun attended a lineup was on June 23, 2009, conducted inside Choudwar Circle Jail in Cuttack. Police lined up about 80 people, mixing prisoners with eight suspects, and asked the nun to identify those who attacked her.

A similar exercise was conducted on Dec. 5, 2008. On that day, she identified two people — one who slapped her and another who was in the crowd that attacked her.

Sister Mary Pulickal, superior of the nun, told UCA News today that the nuns “will not go to Kandhamal; we cannot go there because we do not feel safe.” Press Trust of India, quoting official sources, said 19 people have been arrested in the case so far. The state police’s Crime Branch was in search of two others, they said.

The news agency said Crime Branch officials also failed to turn up for yesterday’s lineup.

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

If one is not Hindu he could not be Indian: Bhagwat

Bhopal, Feb 28 (PTI) RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat today said that those who were Indians were Hindus and if one was not a Hindu he could not be an Indian.
"For us the word Hindu did not mean any religion but a way of life," he said at an annual function of the RSS and the Hindu Samagam here.
The Union Finance Minister had in his budget speech quoted from Chanakaya but this was totally out of context, Bhagwat said, adding that what Chanakaya had said was valid for his times and not the present-day India.
The RSS chief hit out equally at America and China for trying to undermine India in a number of ways.
Bhagwat said that while America dumped rejected and cheap drugs in India, China was making attempts to make sure that it alone was the most powerful power in South Asia. here for source

Monday, February 22, 2010

Churches in Punjab burnt over poster controversy

Email from Bishop Samantroy, CNI

Following the protests by Christians against display of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette and a beer can in Shillong , the Epiphany Church in Batala,  has been attacked by some religious fundamentalists.

It was one of the most beautiful historic churches built in Mughal style in 1893. The lock was broken open and the church was vandalized. The altar, pulpit and beautifully carved wooden furniture are burned down.

This is the first incident of such kind in the region of Punjab. 

Christian leaders are meeting to discuss the matter and to plan actions to be taken.

Christians in the whole region are extremely hurt and agitated over this incident.

Kindly pray for the leaders that right decisions can be made and that peace and solidarity may be restored.

jesus with ciggaratte

Objectionable Jesus poster sparks violence, curfew

An indefinite curfew is imposed in the Punjab town of Batala on Saturday after tension prevailed following the publication of a poster depicting Jesus Christ in an objectionable manner. Clashes also broke out as some members of the Christian community forced shopkeepers to down shutters.

The curfew was imposed after members of the Christian community came to know about the poster, depicting Jesus Christ holding a beer can in one hand and what appeared to be either a cigarette or a chicken leg in the other.

They started gathering in the town and forced the shopkeepers to close their shops, leading to clashes. The police intervened when they tried to burn a few buildings.

Batala, 40 km from Amritsar, has a sizeable Christian population and several leading schools and other institutions have been run by the community for the past several decades.

The curfew will continue till further orders, officials said here.

Punjab police chief P.S. Gill said a case had been registered against the printer of the objectionable poster.

"The printing press in which the controversial poster was printed had been sealed and a case has been registered against the accused at the police station in Jalandhar's Division No. 4.

"Additional forces have been sent to sensitive areas to restore the confidence of the people," Gill said in Chandigarh, 250 km from here.

Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is also the state home minister, condemned the act and said no one would be allowed to disturb the peace of the state.

Pictures of Jesus Christ holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer can in the other in a book for primary classes triggered a row in Meghalaya Friday. The objectionable pictures were found in the cursive writing exercise books at a school in Shillong.

The Catholic Church in India has banned in all its member schools New Delhi-based Skyline Publications for printing the pictures in class 1 cursive writing books.

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Dealt with Iron Hand

Reacting to the acts of violence in Batala over the publication of a “sacrilegious” poster of Jesus Christ, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the SAD-BJP government would not allow anyone in the state to disrespect any religion and take the law into their hands.

“Some forces are out to disturb communal harmony and peace in the state in a calculated manner. But the government is committed to maintaining peace at any cost,” said Badal, who was in the city for the foundation stone laying ceremony of Government College, Ghuddha. on Sunday. “Such forces will be dealt with an iron hand. The people of Punjab should also oppose such forces that emerge as a threat to peace in the state,” the CM added.

Badal said one person had been rounded up by the police in connection with the photo controversy and a probe is being conducted into whether the incident was a planned conspiracy. In his speech, Badal accused the Congress of engineering “such incidents which posed a threat to peace in the state”.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Church attacks: Cop deposes, advocates spar

BANGALORE: After indicting the Sri Rama Sene and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for the church attacks in the state in its interim report, the Justice BK Somasekhar Commission on Monday witnessed an exchange of heated arguments among the advocates as a police witness deposed.

Advocates appearing for the Hindu bodies objected to questions raised by HNM Prasad, the advocate appearing for Christian memorialists while cross-examining Raghukumar, sub-inspector of Arsikere police station, Davanagere.

Narayana Reddy, an advocate defending police and Madhusudhan Adiga, an advocate representing the Hindu organisations expressed displeasure towards the commission for not allowing them to intervene as Raghukumar was questioned.

During the questioning by Jagadeesh, an advocate representing a Christian organisation, Raghukumar admitted accepting complaints from members of the Hindu Jagaran Vedike against Pastor Rajshekar and Shanthamma, who were preaching Christianity at their homes in Uchangi Durga in Arsikere.

However, when Madhusudhan Adiga questioned him, Raghukumar denied the complainant Deepak Karnade belonging to Hindu Jagaran Vedike. Meanwhile, TS Vasanth Kumar Bhawani, president of Sri Rama Sene, Bangalore had filed the application before the commission seeking an interim report as it had implicated the organisation in the church attacks.

Click here for source

Monday, February 08, 2010

Christian arrested in Karnataka on false charges

A Christian was arrested on alleged charges of forced conversion in Puttur Taluka, Karnataka.

Harish, 35 years from Mardala Village, Puttur, Karnataka was reportedly returning home from a friend’s house after prayer on February, 7, 2010 at about 4:30 pm, when he was arrested. His wife Lakhsmi, 28 years, and their 2 month old child was also detained by the police for 5 hours on the pretext of investigation.

Harish has been charged undersections 149, 295, and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. He was produced before the Puttur Magistrate on the same night and was sent to Mangalore jail.

The complainant has been identified as one Sekhar, who is said to be the local Bajrang Dal leader.

BJP leaders question EU team visit to Kandhamal

Bhubaneshwar, Feb. 7 (ANI): Elders and leaders of various tribes in Orissa's Kandhamal District have voiced suspicious about a European Union (EU) delegation visiting their region saying it would hamper peace and re-ignite violence.

The 11-member EU delegation visited Kandhamal region on Wednesday.

The delegation held discussions with Orissa Government officials Christian leaders and human rights activists in Bhubaneswar.
Addressing the media here, the tribal leaders recalled that Kandhamal was rocked by communal violence in mid-2008, sparked off by the murder of a senior Hindu leader.
Consequently, the area witnessed large-scale killings. Hundreds of families were forced to flee to safer locations.
On this score, the tribal leaders alleged that the EU team's one-day stay at Kandhamal has started creating ripples.
"They have met a particular community and interacted with them. They also conducted a secret meeting. By doing this, we are predicting that Kandhamal will again become volatile. They have already sown the seeds of conflict between different faiths in the area," claimed Karendra Majhi, a tribal leader and BJP MLA.
The EU delegation was supposed to visit the area to assess socio-economic cultural development after riots.
However, elders in Kandhamal contend that the delegation met people of only one community behind closed doors which raised many eyebrows.
"EUs delegation from eleven countries came to review the socio-economic development of the society after the riots. But from their programme it seems that their visit is communal. They are trying to influence the authorities, police department and judiciary,"noted Laxmikanta Das, General Secretary, Vanavasi Kalyan Ashram.
"This is dangerous for the internal security of the region and we are completely against this. The state government has knowingly supported them, which is highly condemnable," he added. (ANI)

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Saturday, February 06, 2010

1 more church vandalized in Karnataka

UNI, Friday, 05 February 2010

Mandya : Miscreants attack on churches continue with one more church in Malavalli Taluk in the district desecrated in the early hours of today.
The incident was second in just 10 days after the attack on holy family church at Hinakal on the outskirts of Mysore City and came within days after Justice B K Somasekhar Commission submitted its interim report on attacks on churches or places of worship.
Police said a group of unidentified men gained entry into the 60-year-old St Mathias Church's and vandalised the holy Tabernacle where the church authorities preserve Eucharist (Body of Christ).
The miscreants also made away with precious Chalice and 10 silk sarees kept in two cupboards. However, the statue of St Mathias and the Holy Cross remained untouched.
Mr Jeevan Kumar Gaonkar, IGP (Southern Range), who visited the spot, told mediapersons that it was too early to comment whether it was an act of deliberate desecration or a burglary attempt was made.
''Taking into consideration the way miscreants have vandalised the property of church, it gives an impression of burglary.
''But police would investigate all angles. Especially, with controversies over church attacks being largely debated, it is possible the attackers might give it a colour of burglary to escape from larger crime of desecration.''

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EU delegation meets victims of Kandhamal violence

A European Union team was given a rousing welcome here on Thursday by those affected by anti-Christian violence in August 2008.

PTI Members of a Europian delegation listening to the grievances of riot victims at Nandagiri resettlement camp in Kandhamal district on Thursday.

The victims showered petals on the visiting delegates at the rehabilitation camp at Nandagiri in the G. Udaigiri area. Many in the camp danced to drumbeats and several shook hands with the11-member team.

The camp has 55 families living in tents. They did not want to return to their native village, Betikala, a few km away, for fear of attacks by the majority community.

The administration, in association with the Believers’ Church, is building homes for them.

Money provided by the Centre, the State government and the church as compensation was being used for the purpose.

Inmates happy

Interacting with the team members, the camp residents said they were happy with whatever the administration had done to rehabilitate them.

They, however, sought the intervention of the team to ensure work for them and livelihood support. Many of them demanded opening of a school and a prayer hall near the colony.

“We suffered for our religion. We should be provided a prayer house,” Sabita Nayak told the team in the presence of local people and journalists.

The church and houses in their village were damaged and burnt down in the violence that followed the killing of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Lakshmanananda on August 23, 2008.

There was no opposition to the EU team’s visit to the district by activists of any organisation.

A group of Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest when the team arrived at Bhubaneswar on Tuesday evening.

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