Friday, August 29, 2008

CBCI Submits Memorandum to Prime Minister

Memorandum Submitted To Hon'ble Prime Minister By The CBCI Delegation

NEW DELHI, AUG. 28, 2008, 18.00 Hrs: CBCI Delegation met Hon’ble Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today at 6.30 pm at New Delhi. The Delegation briefed him with the situation in Kandhamal district of Orissa and requested his for immediate intervention. Most Rev. Vincent Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi, Most Rev. Raphael Cheenath, Catholic Archdiocese Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswhar, Rev. Thomas D’Aquino Sequeira, Dy. Secretary General, CBCI, Rev. Dr. Babu Joseph, SVD, Spokesperson, CBCI, Bishop Samson Dass, Bishop of Cuttack- CNI, Bishop Sunil Kumar Singh, Bishop of Church of North India, Ms. Sushma Ramaswami, Vice-President, NCCI Submitted the Memorandum to Hon'ble Pime Minister.

Following is the full text of the Memorandum submitted to Hon’ble Prime Minister by the CBCI Delegation :-


Dr. Manmohan Singh
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India
7, Race Course Road
New Delhi-110001 August 28, 2008

Subject: Earnest request for your immediate intervention in Kandhamal District of Orissa which is again witnessing violence against the Christian community.

Hon'ble Prime Minister Ji,

We are sad to note that Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Lakshmanananda Saraswati and five others were murdered on Saturday, August 23, 2008 allegedly by a Maoist group in Kandhamal Dist of Orissa. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and the Church leaders in Orissa and other parts of the country have condemned the killing of Swami Lakshmananda Sarswati and his associates in the Ashram. We have also appealed for peace and harmony in the State.

However, we are extremely sorry to find that some organizations have pointed finger at the Christian community in Orissa for the alleged murder of the Swami and his associates. Consequently, there have been unprovoked attacks on Christians and their institutions in Kandhamal and surrounding areas.

We are pained and shocked at the merciless killings and unabated violence against the Christians all over the State of Orissa. While the Christian leaders have condemned the heinous crime perpetrated on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and his associates in the Ashram at Kandhamal District, Orissa, the killings of and atrocities against Christians are the evil designs of the fanatic fundamentalists. They are still continuing the violence and the State Government has failed to protect the Christians and other innocent people.

The Christians in the State are living in continual tension and great fear. The law and order machinery is not at their rescue and they are living in pathetic conditions for the last four days. The houses, churches and prayer halls have to be rebuilt and a sense of security has to be restored in the hearts of Christians and other affected people. This is the greatest disaster in the history of a Christian community in India and more so in Orissa.


Even though the Government has been assuring us all protection the fundamentalists are moving about with lethal weapons threatening the Christians.
The fundamentalists go on their destructive activities even in the presence of the police men. The police says that they are unable to face such unruly mob. The destruction goes on unabated.

The Christians who are already attacked and those who are in great panic of being attacked, feel with sufficient reason that they are left to the mercy of the fundamentalists.

We do not see anywhere sufficient number of policemen and the senior police officers for maintenance of law and order have expressed their inability to control the situation in absence of adequate force.

The fundamentalists are forcing the Christians to leave their homes and to take refuge in the forests and even to leave the State. As a consequence there are sixty thousand refugees in the State.

The aim of the fundamentalist groups is to drive the Christians away from the region as it is evident from the slogan they are shouting at Christians and the anti-inflammatory statements made by them.

Most of the priests, pastors and religious men and women in Kandhamal are hiding in the forest to save their lives. In fact, the fundamentalists are in search of their hide-outs.

We are in receipt of information from various Churches and institutions that the miscreants are still active and the destruction of property is still going on rampant and Christians are under fierce attack. On the other hand, the innocent Christians are frightened and Christian officials are victimized as an outcome of the constant attacks.

In view of the facts stated above we demand the following:

1. That a CBI enquiry be ordered for proper and impartial investigation for justice.

2. That Central Para-Military Forces/ Army be deployed in adequate strength at all the affected and sensitive places to prevent any further recurrences as the local police has not been able to control the situation.

3. That impartial and proper assessment of the property damage caused to various Churches, Christian institutions, individuals and other establishments be made and given adequate compensation as early as possible in view of proper rehabilitation.

4. That adequate compensation be given to the families of the deceased and inured persons.

5. That the culprits responsible for creating communal disharmony and damage caused to the people and properties should be severely dealt with and those Government officials found wanting or negligent in their duties be taken to task.

6. That a law be enacted after the manner of SC Atrocities (Prevention) Act, in order to restrain such heinous communal crimes which have become so common in India.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely,

Most Rev. Vincent Concessao
Archbishop of Delhi

Most Rev. Raphael Cheenath
Catholic Archdiocese Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswhar

Rev. Thomas D’Aquino Sequeira
Dy. Secretary General, CBCI

Rev. Dr. Babu Joseph, SVD
Spokesperson, CBCI

Bishop Samson Dass
Bishop of Cuttack- CNI

Bishop Sunil Kumar Singh
Bishop of Church of North India

Ms. Sushma Ramaswami
Vice-President, NCCI

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