Paswan favours President’s Rule in Orissa (Lead)

October 5th, 2008 - 7:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyNew Delhi, Oct 5 (IANS) Orissa, where communal violence in the past 45 days has claimed over 35 lives, “is a fit case” for President’s Rule, union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said Sunday.”Orissa is a fit case for the imposition of President’s Rule by invoking Article 356,” Paswan told reporters on the sidelines of a fertiliser advisory forum meeting here.

“The situation has worsened so much that Orissa has become a fit case for the imposition of Article 356. I think the central government should look into it very seriously,” said Paswan, who also holds chemicals and fertilisers portfolio.

“A series of attacks against a minority community is a threat to the country’s unity and integrity,” the minister said, blaming the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for communal flare-up in Orissa, India’s east coastal state.

Article 356 of the Indian constitution enables the central government to dismiss any state government in case of the law and order breakdown.

It is called ‘President’s Rule’ because the Indian president instead of an elected government then governs the state, and executive authority is delegated to the state governor.

Paswan said the situation in Orissa has deteriorated beyond the provisions of Article 355, which is to “ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions” of the constitution.

Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) is a constituent of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, while the BJP is in alliance with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which rules in Orissa.

Since Aug 24, the anti-Christian attacks in the state have left over 35 people dead. Christians account for 2.3 percent of India’s billion-plus population.

The violence, triggered with the killing of a Hindu leader Swami Laxmanananda Aug 23 in Kandhamal district, saw rampaging mobs burning down churches and homes of Christians, forcing thousands to flee to take refuge in jungles.

The anti-Christian attacks in Orissa and Karnataka, which is ruled by the BJP, also figured in Friday’s cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

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