Saturday, February 06, 2010

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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