2009-10-03 13:15:59

Orissa CM Patnaik visits Kandhamal, but ignores the Christians

(October 03, 2009) The chief minister of Orissa, Naveen Patnaik, did not utter a word in favour of the Christians of Kandhamal during his visit to the district most affected by the Hindu violence. In his one day tour on October 1st, Patnaik launched a health program for 60 thousand students in the district, the Vidyalaya Swasthya Yojana, inaugurated a hostel of a school for girls, opened a centre for neonatal care in the district hospital, donating 7 ambulances and bicycles for all employees and announced the allocation of over 300 thousand dollars for a program named after his father, former chief minister Biju Patnaik of the State, aimed at developing the roads, water and electricity supply in the district. But the chief minister never mentioned the situation of Christians who can not return to their villages of origin and are subjected to constant threats by extremist Hindus. Fr. Dibakar Parichha, a priest of the diocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar points out that Patnaik’s behaviour is even more striking when one considers that his visit to Kandhamal occurred on 1 October, the eve of the International Day for Non-violence and he could also have encouraged Christians by telling them that the state has them in mind". Harsher a local Christian says that the lack of a minimum reference to the persecution "reflects the typical attitude of the administration in Orissa against Christians

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