Apex court upbraids Orissa government on Kandhamal relief

August 12th, 2011 - 11:28 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court said Friday the Orissa government has a lot to explain on its handling of the relief and rehabilitation of victims of the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district.

The apex court bench of Chief Justice S.H.Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar told the state government: “You have a lot to explain, in the course of the hearing of an application drawing the court’s attention, on the gaps in the relief and rehabilitation of the victims of anti-Christian violence.”

The application by Archbishop Raphael Cheenath drew the attention of the court to 17 counts where it faulted the handling of the relief and rehabilitation of the victims by the state and its agencies.

The application pointed to inadequate compensation and arbitrary methodology employed in selecting recipients and assessing the damage to private and public property.

The application referred to the survey conducted by civil society organisation Justice, Peace, Development and Communication (JPDC) to point out that 246 families of the victims were not included for the purposes of relief and rehabilitation.

The application drew the attention of the court on the difficulties being faced by the victims in repaying the loans given to them under the Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yozana, death caused in the relief camps on account of poor medical facilities, families still living in camps and outside their villages, adverse impact on education of the children of victim families, and rehabilitation of widows of communal violence.

The application said that 10,000 victims are still living outside their villages and are either living in other districts or have migrated to Kerala, Andhra Pradesh or Gujarat.

The court’s intervention was also sought for the restoration of Churches damaged during the communal riots.

The court has directed the listing of the matter after two weeks.

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