Friday, September 05, 2008

Protect the lives and the Rights of Christian Minorities in Orissa

PVCHR hide details 9:10 am (0 minutes ago)
date Sep 5, 2008 9:10 AM
subject Protect the lives and the Rights of Christian Minorities in Orissa


Madam Pratibha Patel

President of India

Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, INDIA

Fax: (91) 11-2301 7290 or (91) 11-2301 7824


Madam President,

I write with deep concern over the communal violence that has been spearheaded by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and its ally the Bajrang Dal in many districts of Orissa since 24 August 2008. The target of the violence has been the Christian minorities, most of whom are tribals and Dalits. The on-going carnage has resulted in the death of more than 26 persons. A Catholic nun has been gang-raped. More than 5000 people are still hiding in the jungles, though it is claimed that 10000 people who returned from there have been accommodated in relief camps. Hundreds of people, including priests and nuns, have been injured. More than 4014 houses have been torched and 50 churches vandalized. Shops belonging to Christians – 10 shops in Raikia alone – have been destroyed. 15 church-owned institutions have also been attacked. The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal were responsible for similar attacks, killing four Christians, destroying 730 homes and vandalizing 105 churches in the same state of Orissa in December 2007.

It is obvious that these fundamental organizations that are responsible for the genocide, arson and criminal intimidation have little regard for the Constitution of India Article 21 of which, as well as Article 6 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – to which the Government of India is a party – guarantees protection of life and personal liberty. The same organizations scoff at the freedom of conscience and the free profession, practice and propagation of religion that are enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution of India and in Article 18 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It shall be a grave threat to the secular fabric as well as to the integration of India, if these forces are let go with impunity. It is only fitting to recall here that the Bajrang Dal has been involved in illegal manufacture of explosives: two Bajrang Dal workers were killed in a blast while making a bomb, in Nanded, on 6 April, 2006.

In this context, and with great urgency, I appeal to you, Madam President, to initiate suitable measures that:

Stop the carnage and protect the rights, lives and properties of Christians in Orissa;
provide immediate relief and adequate compensation to the victims;
ensure a climate of peace and harmony in Orissa state so that people may live without fear;
conduct an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the entire violence starting with the killing of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his associates; and
ban, with immediate effect, both the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal.

Seeking your prompt and effective intervention, I remain

Yours truly,

PVCHR, SA4/2A, DAULATPUR, VARANASI-221002,UP,INDIA.PH.:+91-542-2586688
Please visit:

Copy to:

1) Dr. Manmohan Singh

Prime Minster of India, Prime Minster's Office, South Block

Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110 011, INDIA

Fax: 011-2301 9545 or 011-2301 6857


2) Shri. Shivraj Patil

Home Minister, Ministry of Home Affairs

North Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi 110 011

Fax: (+) 91-11- 2309 2979


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