Oriyas abroad demand ban on Hindu groups’ Christmas agitation

December 19th, 2008 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Dec 19 (IANS) A group of people from Orissa living abroad Friday asked the state government not to allow the proposed state-wide shutdown on Christmas by Hindu groups as it may lead to violence.”We, the Oriyas living abroad, are unhappy with the incidents of communal violence in our state, which have given it a bad name,” Dhirendra Kar, former vice president of Oriya society of America (OSA), told IANS by phone from the US.

“We do not want such things in the future. The government should ban the Dec 25 bandh (shutdown) which some organisations are planning,” he said, adding this was the demand of Oriyas living in the US.

“Such incidents are creating trouble and people here ask us lot of questions when we are desperately trying to do some thing for the state,” Kar said, adding they all felt the issue is much above politics and must be condemned by each and every quarter.

Kandhamal district, about 200 km from here, witnessed widespread communal violence after the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram in the district Aug 23. Christians residents of the district were attacked by extremist Hindu groups.

The region is witnessing renewed tension following a demand by Hindu groups to observe a state-wide shutdown Dec 25 in support of its demand for the arrest of all people involved in the killing of Saraswati and his aides.

Police have arrested seven people in connection with the killings of the VHP leader and his aides and said the others would be apprehended soon. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that he will not allow the shutdown and will ensure that the Christmas celebrations go on peacefully.

Hindu groups say the protests will be peaceful. However, Christians have announced they will keep Christmas celebrations low key because they do not feel safe. “The Christians are afraid because any thing may happen on that day,” Sajan George, president of Global council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told IANS.

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