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Stop N-deal with India: US Christian group

October 23, 2008 08:49 IST

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A Christian organisation in the US has urged the Bush administration not to start implementing the civilian nuclear agreement with India unless the violence against the community in Orissa stops.

Jim Jacobson, president of the Christian Freedom International, has called for an immediate action by the House of Representatives to pass Concurrent 'Resolution HR-434' that condemns the recent religious violence in India and asking the government of India to stop the violence and address its root causes.

Fanatics in Orissa are launching attacks against Christian homes and churches, setting fire to everything in their path and viciously beating, or even murdering Christian pastors, Jacobson charged.

"The violence has caused thousands of Christians to flee for their lives into the nearby forests or refugee camps and to make matters worse, the local government has done nothing to intervene in the crisis," he alleged.

The resolution is gaining more support each day, and "we call on Chairman Howard Berman of the House of Foreign Relations Committee to bring the resolution to the floor of the House as soon as possible," Jacobson said.

According to a release, Washington and New Delhi [Images] will begin the implementation of the civilian nuclear deal between both the countries in the next month for cooperation concerning peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Before any further action is taken on this agreement, the violence against the Christian population in Orissa must stop, Jacobson said. "I call on the Chairman Berman and Secretary Condoleezza Rice [Images] to act quickly into the matter," he added.

"Today, the US government treats India like a partner, but ignores the violation of basic human rights in Orissa. The world community is watching. The US Congress and the Bush administration must insist that the violence must stop now," he said.

House Resolution 434 (with the Senate concurring) of September 26 had the Congress strongly condemning the religious violence in India, including the killings, rapes and church destruction; and calling on the government of India to take all necessary steps to restrict the reach and resources of the radical religious party elements that cause such violence regularly.

The resolution called on New Delhi to take strong steps to prevent ongoing and future violence, including the provision of adequate police protection for targets of violence, and active prosecution of perpetrators of violence.

It also called on the state governments of India and the elected bodies at all levels of government to protect their citizens regardless of their religious beliefs.

The resolution further condemned the implementation of any laws restricting the freedom of religion or the freedom to change one's religion, the fundamental rights in any democracy; and urged the people of India to respect "all peaceful religious beliefs and live together as a model to the rest of the world."

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