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Kandhamal situation grim, Archbishop tells SC
October 13, 2008 19:35 IST
The archbishop of Cuttack alleged on Monday, in the Supreme Court that the Orissa government has failed to control the situation in riot-hit Kandhamal district and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the alleged rape of a nun.
"The situation in Kandhamal district is grim," senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the archbishop told a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, which agreed to hear the matter on October 17.
The advocate said that despite an undertaking given by the Orissa government during the last hearing on September 11, communal violence in Kandhamal and neigbouring districts continues unabated.
The additional affidavit filed on behalf of archbishop Raphael Chhenath alleged that Orissa government was not taking steps to arrest the culprits who allegedly raped and paraded the nun naked on August 25 even 39 days after she lodged the First Information Report.
The petitioners has sought a direction for the CBI to take over the investigation of the alleged rape of nun since the state police have failed to arrest the accused despite knowing their identity.
The archbishop accused the state government of failing to protect the lives and property of the Christian community and sought a compensation of Rs three crore for the damage and demolition of the churches and property during the wave of violence apart from compensation of Rs 5.5 lakh for the family of persons killed in the communal clash.
It has also been alleged that the NGOs and volunteers appointed by the Church were not allowed to carry out relief and rehabilitation work among the victim community in the affected districts.
During the last hearing, the Centre had said that the situation in communal riots-hit Kandhamal district of Orissa was "much much better" and the situation was "under control". It had said that situation in the trouble-torn district which witnessed attacks on Christians improved after the intervention of the apex court.
The apex court then had posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.
Kandhamal district has witnessed communal violence after Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, head of a local mutt in Orissa, was killed along with four other inmates on August 23.
The Maoist leader of the region has claimed responsibility for the assassination of the Swami which was not totally agreed by the Orissa police.
The archbishop had approached the apex court for a CBI inquiry into the violence against Christians.
The Orissa government in an affidavit submitted to the apex court had rejected the demand for a CBI inquiry and said the plea was not maintainable as the state has already appointed a commission of enquiry headed by retired high court judge, S C Mohapatra.
The commission would enquire into the circumstances leading to the murder of Swami Lakshmananda Saraswathi and the violence which broke out after it.
The affidavit had also mentioned the details regarding the relief and rescue operations being undertaken for the welfare of the affected persons by spending an amount of Rs one crore.
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