Monday, August 25, 2008


We condemn the killing of Swami Saraswati and four of his associates during the attack on the VHP Ashram in the Kandhamal  District of Orissa on Saturday 23rd  August 2008.

We sympathize with the bereaved members of the families who have lost their loved ones.
We call upon the Orissa and the Central Governments to do all in their power to bring to book immediately, those responsible for this dastardly act; that anti-social elements do not take law and order into their own hands and above all, to ensure that peace and calm prevail in the area, and in other parts of Orissa.
Violence, for whatever the provocation, is non-acceptable, and will definitely not help achieve the goals for which these acts are committed.  We therefore call upon all those responsible for these  acts and to eschew violence immediately.
No violence can be justified, for whatever the reason.  However, for the last several months, the Government of Orissa has allowed some fascist and fundamentalist forces to terrorize the poor, the marginalized and the minorities of the State.  These forces have carried on their virulent propaganda and their violent acts with apparent immunity.
There has been a  total abdication of responsibility by the Government of Orissa and the concerned authorities, like the police.  They should now also be held totally responsible for these deaths and for allowing the situation to go out of control.
Sufficient warning has been given  to the Orissa Government, of the deteriorating situation,  as early as in September 2006, with the publication of "Communalism in Orissa" - the Report of the Indian People's Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights - headed by Justice K. K. Usha (Retd.) former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court. 
It may still not be too late to ensure that the Constitutional Rights and Freedoms of the people of Orissa are not merely guaranteed by also protected by the State.
Fr. Cedric Prakash sj
25th August 2008

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