Sunday, August 24, 2008

AICC Condemns Violence, Swami's Killing

All India Christian Council
A-8, Mahavir Enclave, New Delhi 110045,
Telefax: 011 28042194, Email:,

For Immediate Release

Christians Condemn Violence, Killing of VHP leader; Hope Peace Will Be Maintained in Orissa

New Delhi, August 24, 2008 (All India Christian Council)

The All India Christian Council is deeply concerned at the attack on an ashram near Tumudibandh in Kandhamal District of Orissa last night in which the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his associates were killed.

This is the latest in a series of attacks over recent months by political extremists, often called Naxalites or Maoist guerillas, which have left dozens of policemen and others dead in several districts of Orissa.

Dr. Sam Paul, aicc National Secretary of Public Affairs, said, "The Christian community in India abhors violence, condemns all acts of terrorism, and opposes groups of people taking the law into their own hands. We have had major differences with Mr. Saraswati, the deceased VHP leader. It was the hate campaigns of the Sangh Parivar which led to untold misery for Christians -- including the unprecedented violence last Christmas in Orissa. But we wish peace to everyone and urge everyone to follow the rule of law."

According to media reports, the attack killed four people in addition to Saraswati. The attack involved shooting and hand grenade explosions. Saraswati was reportedly warned by the Maoists a few days prior to the incident to leave the area. (See CNN-IBN, Naxals attack ashram, kill 5 key VHP leaders in Orissa, Aug. 24, 2008)

Dr. John Dayal, aicc Secretary General, said, "We are concerned at reports of communal violence in the last few hours against innocent Christians in nearby districts. We've heard that at least one prayer hall in Sudergarh was burnt, the van of some Catholic nuns was destroyed, and the sisters were injured. We urgently appeal to the Chief Minister, the Governor of Orissa, and the Minister of Home Affairs Mr. Shivraj Patil to take whatever steps are required to maintain peace and harmony in all areas of Orissa, to prevent further attacks on Christians, and to arrest those responsible for the deaths of Saraswati and his associates."

Dr. P.R. Parichha, aicc Orissa state president, said, "The situation in the district was slowly returning to normal. People were engaged in rebuilding houses and settling down after a horrifying experience over Christmas 2007. Now we are afraid that the death of Saraswati will further destabilise the situation in the communally-sensitive Kandhamal district. The aicc will continue to work for peace in Orissa, one of the most undeveloped states in the country."

The All India Christian Council (, birthed in 1998, exists to protect and serve the Christian community, minorities, and the oppressed castes. The aicc is a coalition of thousands of Indian denominations,organizations, and lay leaders.

Release by

Mr. Madhu Chandra
Regional Secretary,

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