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Patil seeks report on communal violence from Orissa governor

October 04, 2008 21:03 IST

Pressure appeared to be mounting on the Centre for effective intervention in Orissa in the wake of continuing violence against Christians by Sangh Parivar outfits and the demand for imposition of President's rule.

Home Minister Shivraj Patil [Images], who was asked by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] at Friday's Cabinet meeting to come out with an apprisal of the situation, is understood to have sought a report from the Governor.

Orissa CM hits back at Centre over Kandhamal violence

Patil spoke to Governor M C Bhandare to discuss the situation in the state, Home Ministry sources said.

The Centre is unhappy with the Naveen Patnaik government for the violence in the state against the Christian community and has said that despite half a dozen warnings, the Orissa government has not been able to control the situation.

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The situation in Orissa acquired greater attention from the Centre after the embarrassment suffered by the Prime Minister when he met the leaders of the European Union in France [Images] and they raised the issue of attacks on Christians.

The Home Minister's telephonic talk with the governor came soon after he shot off a strongly-worded letter to the chief minister, asking him to take effective measures to ensure security to the Christians.

The demand for stringent action in the state has been made by key United Progressive Alliance partner Rashtriya Janata Dal, whose leader Lalu Prasad said advisories sent by the Home Ministry to Orissa has had no effect.

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He wanted use of emergency provision of Article 355 of the Constitution that enables the Centre to issue a direction under which the state should be ruled in accordance with the Constitution.

With allies like RJD and some senior Congress ministers favouring strong action to rein in outfits like the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad to check the violence, the government may be forced to consider the demand for President's rule, sources said.

Normalcy returns in Orissa, but scars remain

Patil, in his letter to Patnaik, pointed out that over 7,000 personnel of central paramilitary forces have been made available to the state after trouble broke out in December last year.

He told the chief minister that merely continuing to ask for additional forces after every few days cannot be the solution.

Patil also pointed out that the helicopter provided to Orissa was used only for recce and not for transportation of troops.

What is wrong in Kandhamal?

In one of the advisories, the Home Ministry pointed out that the situation in the state amounted to breach of Constitution, fuelling speculation that the Centre might use provisions under Article 356 and impose President's rule if matters worsen.

The Union Cabinet, at its meeting on Friday, expressed grave concern over the situation in the state and the prime minister asked Patil to give an appraisal of the situation at the next meeting.

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