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Centre to warn Orissa, Karnataka under Article 355

September 19, 2008 00:36 IST

The Centre is understood to have decided to invoke Article 355 of the Constitution to warn Orissa and Karnataka to rein in violence, following attacks on churches and prayer halls in the two states.

According to official sources on Thursday night, a formal communication in this regard will be sent on Friday to the governments of the two states ruled by the Opposition. A Biju Janata Dal - Bharatiya Janata Party coalition is ruling Orissa while the saffron party is in power in Karnataka.

'We do not blame all Christians'

A Home Ministry spokesman said that he was not aware if any decision has been taken in this regard.

Sources said there was a series of meetings in the Home Ministry before a decision was taken to invoke the Article.

It is for the second time this month that Orissa is to be warned under Article 355.

 'We're against forcible conversions'

Article 355 is a rarely used constitutional provision that typically holds out the threat of dismissal of a state government and imposition of President's rule if the warning of the Centre goes unheeded.

Under Article 355, a duty has been cast on the Union government to ensure that governance in states was carried out in accordance with the Constitution.

Normalcy returns in Orissa, but scars remain

Several Christian organisations in Orissa have been demanding that a warning be issued to the Naveen Patnaik government in Orissa, following the wave of attacks on churches and prayer halls, after killing of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader in the state. The violence has claimed several lives.

In Karnataka, Mangalore has been the epicentre of attacks on the churches in the state.

What is wrong in Kandhamal?

Reacting to the Centre's decision, Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya told PTI "I have also heard about it from the media. If this is so, it is evidently a political move."

He said the state government would endeavour to maintain law and order in the state and ensure safety of everyone including churches and Christians in the state.

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