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Submit report on Kandhamal by Thursday: SC to Orissa govt
September 03, 2008 17:28 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Orissa government to place its report, relating to steps taken to protect the lives of people belonging to the Christian community in riot-hit Kandhamal district, by Thursday.
The apex court also asked the state government to submit an affidavit on whether permission was granted to Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia for his proposed yatra, carrying the ashes of slain leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati.
A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan posted the matter for further hearing for Thursday.
The petitioner, Archbishop of Cuttack Raphael Cheenath, alleged that after this matter was taken up on Tuesday, more violence was reported and a church was destroyed while around 100 families belonging to the community were completely uprooted in one of the riot-hit villages.
His counsel Colin Gonsalves sought a stop on the proposed yatra by Togadia, saying it will further foment trouble in the area, which is witnessing a tense situation.
He alleged that the state government and its police force were not cooperating and assisting the central para-military forces, including the Rapid Action Force and the Central Reserve Police Force, which was clear from the reported statement of the Commandant of the CRPF.
During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam submitted that the Centre was keeping a close watch on the situation and the Home Minister, along with a Delegation, had left for Orissa to assess the situation.
The ASG said that a senior government official from the state should assure the court that the state government will fully assist the para-military forces in protecting lives of people in riot-hit areas.
However, counsel for the Orissa government contended that the allegations of the Archbishop were not correct.
He further said that he was not aware of any proposed yatra by Togadia as he was hearing it for the first time in the court.
He claimed the situation in the riot-hit areas was under control and a similar PIL has been filed in the Orissa High Court.
He said that the Crime Branch has been entrusted the probe of the incidents.
However, the bench said at this stage the court was not concerned with the investigations but with controlling the violence.
The Orissa government's counsel said that the Home Minister was visiting Orissa to find out whether these allegations were correct or not.
In a petition filed on Tuesday, the Archbishop claimed that the attack on churches and other properties belonging to the community was a well orchestrated conspiracy and pleaded that the National Human Rights Commission be asked to conduct a probe to find out which organisation was behind the Kandhamal violence.
Giving details of the damage and loss of property, the petition alleged that the Orissa government had failed to protect the life and property of the community and the measures taken by it, including the compensation announced for the affected families, were not enough.
The petition also sought a compensation of Rs five lakh for the families of those killed in the violence, Rs four lakh for those whose houses were destroyed, Rs two lakh for those whose houses were damaged partially and Rs one lakh for those injured.
The petition also sought Rs three crore as compensation for the damage caused to the churches.
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