Centre’s ’serious concern’ over Orissa violence; two more killed (Roundup)

October 3rd, 2008 - 9:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghNew Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) Expressing “serious concern” over the continuing violence against Christians in Orissa, the central government Friday asked the state “to do more” to restore normalcy, even as two more people were killed in the state.The government also ruled out imposition of central rule in Orissa as a member of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet has demanded.

“The cabinet took note of the situation in Orissa and expressed its serious concern over what is happening. The home minister was asked to submit an appraisal note at the next meeting of the cabinet,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters here Friday.

He was speaking after a cabinet meeting presided over by the prime minister.

“The cabinet felt strongly that the Orissa government needs to do more (to control the violence),” Dasmunsi added.

In Orissa, anti-Christian attacks continued as two people were allegedly dragged out from a house and killed by a Hindu mob in Kandhamal district Friday despite a large police presence, police said here.

A mob of about 100 people rushed to Dungiapanka village in the district and dragged out two people - one a Hindu and the other a Christian - from a house before killing them, a district police official told IANS on the phone.

Meanwhile, four people were arrested for the alleged rape of a nun in Baliguda in the district. More than a month after the nun filed a complaint alleging she was raped and paraded naked in a village while a dozen policemen watched, the Orissa government Friday ordered a probe into the allegations.

The government also suspended the inspector in charge of Baliguda police station, where the nun had filed the complaint Aug 26 - three days after a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader was killed, triggering a spate of violence targeting Christians and churches in which at least 36 people have lost their lives so far.

An officer of the rank of inspector general of police of the Crime Branch would probe the complaint, a home department official said.

The police collected the medical examination report of the nun just two days ago following media reports and Sister Nirmala, Superior-General of the Missionaries of Charity, writing to the state authority seeking justice for the nun.

During the cabinet meeting, Dasmunsi said, “it was also observed that some organisations are taking part in the violence. The home minister was asked for a note on this”.

The reference was to the Bajrang Dal and the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, whose cadres are said to be involved in the violence in Orissa.

The Left parties have also demanded a ban on the Bajrang Dal.

Asked about Railways Minister Lalu Prasad’s demand for central rule in Orissa, Dasmunsi said: “Decisions on matters pertaining to the constitution are not taken arbitrarily”.

Citing a breakdown in the law and order situation or lack of governance, the central government can dismiss a state government under section 356 of the constitution and impose president’s rule.

The central government had last month issued an advisory under article 355 of the constitution to the Orissa government on the continuing violence. Similar advisories were also sent to the governments of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, where too Christian places of worship have been attacked.

Orissa is not new to communal violence between Hindus and Christians. On Jan 22, 1999, Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons, 10-year-old Philip and six-year-old Timothy, were burnt alive by a Hindu mob in their vehicle in Keonjhar district.

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