Bajrang Dal a fundamentalist group: Patnaik

October 14th, 2008 - 11:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) The Bajrang Dal is a fundamentalist organisation, says Naveen Patnaik, chief minister of Orissa state, which has witnessed attacks on Christians in recent weeks. “Many of those arrested in Orissa for anti-Christian violence are from the Bajrang Dal,” Patnaik told Barkha Dutt of NDTV 24×7 in an interview.

“My party believes the Bajrang Dal is a fundamentalist group,” he said, according to a transcript released Tuesday.

Kandhmal district of Orissa has seen large-scale violence targeting Christians and their places of worship in the aftermath of the Aug 23 killing of a Vishwa Hindu parishad (VHP) leader.

While many parties have accused the Bajrang Dal of fomenting trouble, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - an ally of Patnaik’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) - has defended it.

Referring to demands for a ban on the organisation, Patnaik said: “Let the centre take a decision on banning the Bajrang Dal, then we will react.”

The chief minister was critical of the central government’s role in helping the state in bringing the situation under control.

“The centre sent 10 companies of trainees when we asked for help. The home ministry sent helicopters five days late,” he said.

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