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Calls for federal probe into Orissa violence

Hindu extremist’s confession should be investigated further, Church says

Calls for federal probe into Orissa violence
Demonstrators protesting anti-Christian violence in India (File photo)
Ajay Kumar Singh, Bhubaneswar

February 2, 2011

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Church and social activists in Orissa are demanding the National Investigating Agency (NIA) probe anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal after a Hindu extremist “admitted” his involvement in it. A Military Intelligence report recently revealed a senior army official, Prasad Srikant Purohit and his Abhinav Bharat (New India) group targeted Christians in several places including Kandhamal. The report said Purohit confessed to killing two people in Orissa. The officer reportedly made the confession when questioned by army officials over his involvement in a separate terror attack. “We want the truth to come out and the revelation of the Hindu group’s true colors,” said Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur. He said he is not surprised to learn of the involvement of the Hindu group in the Kandhamal violence. “It is a part of a larger network under Sangh Parivar and sheltered by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people’s party),” he added. Sangh Parivar is an umbrella group of Hindu nationalist organizations. Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, who heads the Catholic Church in the eastern Indian state, said the violence exposed “the nefarious plan” of Hindu extremists to eliminate religious minorities from India. “Minority bashing is becoming more and more frequent in BJP-ruled states. We demand the NIA take over the Kandhamal probe,” he added. The NIA was formed in 2009 to counter terrorism in the country. Paul Pradhan, a tribal leader and social activist, whose office and house were gutted in the 2008 violence, said the report only confirms that there is a systematic and well-orchestrated campaign to wipe out Christians in India. Kedar Mishra, a senior journalist, said “It was evident that Abhinav Bharat was very much involved. It is an organized terror network and sheltered by Sangh Parivar.” Anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal broke out in August 2008 and lasted for seven weeks. The violence claimed 95 lives and destroyed more than 6,500 houses in 450 villages. Related reports Hindu radical charged with rape of Orissa nun Six-year-old Orissa girl identifies dad’s killer Five sentenced to life for murder during Orissa violence IE13135.1639
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