Country Refused to Hear Cries of the Poorest of the Poor: Mahesh Bhatt
From left: John Dayal, Abraham Mathai, Mahesh Bhatt and Mohammed Faruqi, at a press conference, after meeting with the Indian president to end anti-Christian violence in Orissa. Picture Courtesy: UCA News
At a press conference afterward, the Citizens Delegation said they urged Patil to use a constitutional provision to force the Orissa government to end anti-Christian violence.
Mahesh Bhatt, a Hindu filmmaker, led the delegation that included Archbishops Vincent Concessao of Delhi and Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, head of the Catholic Church in Orissa. The prelates did not attend the press conference.
Bhatt regretted that political factors have forced federal and state governments to "dilly-dally" in checking the violence. Despite "so many appeals" to various authorities, "the ground reality" in Orissa has not changed, he stated.
He pointed out that 40,000-50,000 Christians have been hiding in Orissa forests since Aug. 24 after Hindu radicals attacked some 300 villages and destroyed more than 4,000 houses. The attackers have also burned several schools, churches, convents and presbyteries.
Bhatt termed it "a shame" that the country, "drugged" with "continuous entertainment and amusement," refuses to hear the "cries of the poorest of the poor" in Orissa.