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Dalits In the News Dec. 26, 2007

by udaya — last modified 2007-12-27 18:45

Curfew imposed in four Orissa towns....

 

Kalinga Times

 

Curfew imposed in four Orissa towns

http://www.kalingatimes.com/orissa_news/news1/20071225-curfew-imposed.htm

 

 

KalingaTimes Correspondent 

Phulbani/Bhubaneswar, Dec 25: Curfew was imposed in Brahmanigaon, Baliguda, Daringibadi and Phulbani areas in Kandhamal district of Orissa on Tuesday evening as communal clashes of caste and religious tints during the day marred the Christmas celebrations in the region.

As the violence claimed one life, at least four churches were damaged by angry mob in the district. The houses of Steel and Mines Minister Padmanabha Behera were also targeted and a police station at Tikabali was burnt. At least 20 persons were injured in different incidents of violence since Monday night, sources said.

It was a day of communal rallies and demonstrations in the district that experience two simultaneous bandhs called by two different organisations. The tribals owing allegiance to Kui Samaj had earlier given the call for a 36 hour bandh starting from Christmas morning.

The activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad observed a bandh in protest leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on Monday.

Traffic was badly hit in most areas of the district during the day as road were blocked by cutting down the tree on Monday night. This prevented policemen from reaching sensitive areas on time. Normal life was badly affected by the bandh throughout the day.

A Kui tribal was killed when a stone hit him at Barakhama near Baliguda. He was part of a tribal rally and was caught in the middle stone pelting between Sangh and Church supporters.

The VHP supporters allegedly damaged the churches at Barakhama, Baliguda, Pabingia and Masripada. Many vehicles belonging to Christian organisations were also damaged at Daringibadi and Phulbani.

While senior police officials were monitoring the situation additional forces were being deployed in sensitive pockets to prevent further clashes, police said.

In Bhubaneswar , the Opposition parties criticised the Naveen Patnaik Government for its failure to control the situation in Kandhamal district.

Instead of mobilising the administration and police to deal with the situation, the alliance government had engaged them to make the Biju Janata Dal rally a success in Bhubaneswar , the parties alleged.

 

The Associated Press

Hindu hard-liners attack Christians, torch churches during Christmas in eastern India

http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/12/26/asia/AS-GEN-India-Churches-Attacked.php

 

Published: December 26, 2007

NEW DELHI: Hindu extremists attacked Christians celebrating Christmas in eastern India, ransacking and burning at least six village churches, officials said Wednesday. One person was killed in the violence.

Authorities deployed 450 police to quell the violence in the remote district of Orissa state where the churches — most nothing more than mud and thatch houses — were attacked, said Bahugrahi Mahapatra, a government official. The trouble had largely tapered off by Wednesday, Mahapatra said.

There were conflicting reports of what sparked the unrest in Orissa, which has a history of violence against the state's tiny Christian minority. Mahapatra called the violence a "sensitive matter" and refused to discuss how it began.

Some reports said Christians had attempted to attack a hardline Hindu leader, Laxmanananda Saraswati of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad group, who led an anti-conversion movement.

"The situation was aggravated by some Christians forcibly stopping the 80-year-old Hindu leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and attempting to attack him," said Giriraj Kishore of the VHP.

"When they were prevented from attacking him by his followers, the Christians hit someone with an ax and one Hindu died," he told reporters in New Delhi.

But the New Delhi-based Catholic Bishops Conference of India said the fighting Monday began when Hindu extremists objected to a show marking Christmas Eve, believing it was designed to encourage Hindus at the bottom of the religion's rigid caste hierarchy to convert to Christianity.

An argument over the Christmas show got out of hand and some of the Hindus opened fire on the Christians, wounding three of them, said John Dayal, a spokesman for the Bishops Conference.

The Hindus then went on a rampage Tuesday, Christmas Day, chasing people out of six churches and setting the buildings ablaze, he said.

Later, dozens of people from each community clashed, Dayal said. One person was killed, he added, but could not say if the dead man was a Hindu or Christian. Another 25 people were wounded, the Press Trust of India news agency said.

Although Hindus, the overwhelming majority of India's 1.1 billion people, and Christians, who make up around 2.5 percent of the population, have tended to coexist peacefully in India, the region where the violence took place has a history of tension between the communities.

Orissa is the only Indian state that has a law requiring people to obtain police permission before they change their religion, a move designed to counter missionary work.

Much of the ill-will in the area, about 1,350 kilometers (840 miles) southeast of the national capital, New Delhi, stems from anti-missionary sentiment.

In 1999, an Australian missionary, Graham Staines, and his sons Philip, 10, and Timothy, 8, were burned to death as they slept inside their vehicle after a Bible study class in Orissa.

The Christians, meanwhile, have challenged the conversion law in court, saying it violates India's constitution.

Hindu.com

 

Buta Singh criticises Puducherry Government

http://www.hindu.com/2007/12/26/stories/2007122650680300.htm

 

Staff Reporter

"Administration has defied court order on quota for all SCs"
 

 

CAREFUL STUDY: Chairman of National Commission for Scheduled Caste Buta Singh going through the representation given by Dalit organisations at a function in Puducherry on Tuesday.

PUDUCHERRY: Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) Buta Singh on Tuesday flayed the territorial administration for defying a Supreme Court directive to ensure reservation benefits for all Scheduled Caste persons irrespective of whether they were origin or migrant SCs.

Criticising the Puducherry Government for issuing a notification to provide reservation benefits to origin SC persons, Mr Buta Singh said he would take up the issue with the Union Home Ministry to rectify the mistake. "The Union Territory cannot act on its own. The UT is not the competent authority to decide on major legislations," he said at a seminar on Dalit Rights organised by the Pondicherry Scheduled Caste People's Welfare Association here.

Mr Singh promised to convene a meeting of the representatives of Dalit organisations here with the Union Home Ministry officials and sort out the issue.

He also observed that successive governments at the Centre failed to implement welfare measures guaranteed in the Constitution.

Mr. Singh said he would hold separate meetings with the Members of Parliament to voice the Commission's concern with regard to the Eleventh Plan.

Though the Planning Commission was approached several times to include NCSC in the formulation of Five Year Plan, they were denied the privilege that was guaranteed under the Constitution, he said.

He said the Commission would not accept the Eleventh Plan without the inclusion of their demands.

Earlier, the Pondicherry Scheduled Caste People's Welfare Association passed 20 resolutions and submitted a copy to the Chairman of NCSC. Their demands included cancellation of the Government Order guaranteeing reservation benefits to origin SC only and adherence to Central Government's guidelines in implementing the Special Component Plan.

Some of the other demands included implementation of the Central Government's Housing Scheme (VAMBAY) for the benefit of SCs free distribution of clothes to SCs through Adi Dravidar Welfare Department and reservation of seats for them in higher education.

Others who spoke at the function included former Judge of Madras High Court Justice V. Kanagaraj and Henry Thiagaraj, Chairman of The Voice of Dalit Forum.


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