Sunday, January 31, 2010

Five-year sentence for 13 in Kandhamal case

Court lets off 17 others for lack of evidence

Fine imposed for torching houses in 2008

Phulbani (Orissa): A fast track court here on Saturday convicted 13 people of the charges of arson and other crimes in the cases of rioting in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in 2008.

They were sentenced to five years in jail. The court let off 17 others for lack of evidence.

Arson charges

Judge Sobhan Kumar Das also imposed a fine of Rs. 2,500 on the convicts for torching houses in the Sarangarh area between August 2008 and October 2008. Eighteen others were acquitted in another case of arson at Phiringia.

In a different case, the court sentenced two persons to five-year RI and imposed a fine of Rs. 2,000 for arson at Ranjabadi village.

Fast track court-II judge C.R. Das acquitted four people of charges of violence in Baliguda area of the district.

Kandhamal, about 200 km. from here, witnessed widespread violence following the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008. — PTI

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pastor Charged With False Allegation of Forced and Fraudulent Conversion

Hindu fanatics stopped a birthday celebration at Jeedimetla village, Secunderabad consequently, the pastor who came for prayer is currently facing alleged fraud and fraudulent conversion charges.

Sources reaching to All India Christian Council (aicc), the incident happened last night at around 9PM, a group of people claimed to be members of Hindu Vahini, a wing of Hindu fanatic group came and disturbed the birthday celebration of Mr. Ramesh's son. The fanatics intruded Ramesh's house and abused the Christian family.

When Pastor Satyam was returning back home after the birthday celebration, the members of Hindu Vahini numbering more than 50 stopped him and abused him with false charges of force and fraudulent conversion. Meanwhile the fanatics called the police escort and in the presence of Assistant Sub-Inspector Mr. Nayak, the fanatics forced Pastor Satyam to eat the food offered to idols. Fanatics threatened when he refused and latter took him to the Petbashirabad police station and released him at 11:30PM.

Pastor Satyam said, "Police officer on duty refused to register the complaint against the fanatics for the unlawful act of intruding into Ramesh's house and clogging his son's birthday celebration." He further said, "We will approach higher police authorities if the police officers on duty continue to refuse to take the complaint."

Pastor Satyam is the senior pastor of Good Shepherd Community Church and also member of All India Christian Council involves in defending the human rights of Christians and oppressed Dalit communities in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The state branch of All India Christian Council is filling a complaint against the Hindu Vahini members for the unlawful act against Pastor Satyam and Mr. Ramesh.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Indian Church torched by unknown miscreants

A mob of unknown miscreants set fire to a Hyderabad church in Andhra Pradesh state, India on January 22, 2010.
According to the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the group of miscreants broke into Gipsy Memorial Church in the early hours of the morning and poured out gallons of kerosene, setting the church on fire.
As the incident took place, Pastor Kumara Nayak (38), the minister of this church who resides nearby, noticed the church caught up in flames, and immediately ran towards the church to try and flight to flames.
In his attempts to extinguish the fire, he received third degree burns all over his body and was admitted to Relief Hospital in Hyderabad.
A complaint has been lodged against the unknown perpetrators at the nearest police station and they are making efforts to catch the culprits.
Pastor S. Kumara Nayak has been in the ministry for the past four years. He is married and blessed with two children.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

‘Delete converted Christians from schedule list’

BHUBANESWAR: Janajati Surakhya Manch, a forum of various political parties and social organisations, working for the welfare of tribals, sought the intervention of President Pratibha Patil for exclusion of Christian converted tribals from the scheduled category list.

A delegation of the Manch called on the President at Rashtrapati Bhawan yesterday and submitted a memorandum.

State BJP president Jual Oram who was part of the delegation told this paper that JSM had been mobilising both public and political support for constitutional amendment to stop this aberration. The meeting with the President was part of the exercise.

The delegation requested the President to impress upon the Central Government to bring necessary changes in the law to protect the interests of the tribals.

The JSM has been demanding that tribals adopting Christianity should not be allowed to enjoy double benefits - all welfare and service benefits of the Government meant for tribals and the status of minority.

Even after adopting Christianity, the tribals have been enjoying reservation meant for the Scheduled Tribes in Government services which is the major area of concern of the JSM.

The forum alleged that the Christian converted tribals are grabbing 80 per cent of the Government jobs.

Tribal leaders cutting across party lines are members of the JSM. Senior Congress leader and former MP from Madhya Pradesh Dileep Singh Bhuria and former MP Ananta Nayak were the other member from the State.

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A pro-Hindu Maoist splinter group in Orissa?

A new outfit calling itself M2 and claiming to support the Hindus and tribal people has surfaced in Orissa, raising doubts on whether the Maoist cadre in the state stand divided.

The outfit came out in support of the Hindus and tribal people after the Communist Party of India-Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder of religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in August.

A Maoist leader, through an audio release, claimed that the organisation in Orissa remained undivided. Neither the state government nor the police have any information about any split among left wing extremist ranks.

"Though some posters and leaflets appeared in the name of M2, the government is yet to confirm whether it is a splinter group of the original outfit or a new organisation," Home Secretary Aditya Padhi told PTI adding the intelligence wing had been examining the development.

While no one in the administration or police had any clue about M2 and its leaders, the mysterious body had already made its presence felt by enforcing a bandh in three districts on January 3.

The call evoked spontaneous response in violence-ravaged Kandhamal and was partial in two other adjoining districts, Gajapati and Ganjam.

"It was a successful bandh organised through posters and leaflets as no activist was seen picketing on streets to enforce the shutdown," a senior police officer said.

Officials in the intelligence wing, who have been keeping a close watch on Maoist activities in Orissa, however, said that there were similarities between the style of functioning of CPI (Maoist) and the newly-formed outfit.

Both undertook campaigns through posters, wall writings and messages on trees as the means of communicating with the people, an intelligence expert said.

While the CPI (Maoist) was affiliated to the PLGA (Peoples' Liberation Guerrilla Army), the new outfit is supposed to have formed a separate ideological platform in the name of IDGA (Ideological Democratic Guerrilla Army).

The CPI (Maoist) had claimed responsibility for Laxmanananda's killing. But the new outfit, through its banners and posters, has pledged to protect Hindus and the tribal people.

It gives a strong indication that a small fraction of Maoists might have created a new outfit because of the change of stand by top leaders, a senior government official said.

''A top Maoist leader had earlier told the media that they work for the protection of minority Christians and, therefore killed Saraswati," the official said adding some within the cadre might not have supported the move.

Generally, Maoists across the country never are known to take any religious line. "This could be the first instance of Maoists eliminating a religious leader and working on religious lines,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the Kui Samaj Samanwyay Samiti, a tribal body in Kandhamal, had announced its support to the new Maoist organisation.

''We do not know who the leader of M2 is. But we support the outfit on the basis of the content of its posters. They have announced plans to fight for the interest of tribal people who are exploited,'' KSSS leader Lambodar Kanhar told PTI.

With confusion still gripping the people in Kandhamal and other Maoist-affected districts, the police was apprehensive of a battle between the two outfits on religious lines which could further worsen the situation in the riot-hit district.

''Tackling Maoist activities is a problem, but division on religious lines can have an adverse impact on the society,'' a senior intelligence official said.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Victims forced out before EU group visit in Kandhamal

In order to conceal the hostile situation of Kandhamal to a visiting delegation, the authorities there are forcing many out of the refugee camps, claims victims.
A 10-member European Union group is to tour the riot-hit district from Jan. 27.
Led by deputy chief of mission in the Spanish embassy Ramon Moreno, the EU group is to go on a fact-finding mission during its four-day visit.
Following this announcement, says victims, many are being forced to move out from their camps for the authorities to project a tranquil outlook.
According to one source, about a hundred taking refuge in a local market complex in G. Udaygiri of Kandhamal was asked to vacate the earliest possible.
The complex was their refuge after the government closed many of the state-run relief camps.
"The local government has ordered to vacate people immediately and if we refuse police force will be used," a worried survivor was quoted by Bosnewslife, as saying.
Meena Nayak, a mother of two, asks "where can I go with these two babies?" Her second child was born in the relief camp after violence in August 2008 forced them out of their village.
"We cannot go back to our village, because they will not allow us to live there if we do not convert to Hinduism," she said. "The government is not prepared to provide security and necessary helps. On top of it they are trying to throw us out from here also."
About 50,000 had fled their homes during the violence in the aftermath of Maoists slaying a local Hindu leader. At least 20,000 people still remain homeless without any support from the government.
Says Fr Ajay, who heads an NGO in Kandhamal, "Even after seventeen months there is no justice for survivors of communal violence."
The victims, being poor adivasis and tribals, are reduced to beggars and second class citizens, he says.
He points that it is not a matter of charity that the government is forced to show concern, but it is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India.
The government although has promised compensation, it is not being equally distributed and also is inadequate to rebuild their homes or restore their lives, says victims.
Meanwhile, cold wave conditions returned in Orissa with the minimum temperature dropping in several parts of the state.
Phulbani town in the district of Kandhamal Sunday recorded 9.8 degrees Celsius, the days' lowest, an official of the meteorological centre informed.

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