Rights panel seeks report on Orissa communal violence

August 29th, 2008 - 10:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Friday sought a report from the Orissa government on the ongoing communal violence in the state following the killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader last week. The NHRC sent notice to the Orissa chief secretary and the state director general of police on the communal violence in which at least 11 people have been killed in revenge for the murder of VHP leader Laxamanananda Saraswati.

“The panel has asked them to submit a report in entirety within two weeks,” an NHRC spokesperson said.

Orissa has been on the boil since the killing of Saraswati, a member of the VHP’s central advisory committee, and four others Saturday evening by suspected Maoist guerrillas at his Jalespata ashram in Kandhamal district.

Saraswati was leading a campaign against cow slaughter and religious conversion in the communally sensitive district - which with a population of around 600,000, including 150,000 Christians, has witnessed numerous clashes between Hindus and Christians in the past.

Radical Hindu groups in the state alleged that Christians killed Saraswati because he was opposing religious conversion. Christian organisations deny the allegation.

Saraswati’s supporters have been holding protests since Saturday night and violence continued for the seventh day Friday with stray incidents reported from Kandhamal despite a curfew, the police said.

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