26 August 2008

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) strongly condemns the attacks on poor Christian tribals in Orissa villages in Kandhamal District. A young nun was burnt to death and many others, including women and children, have suffered grievous injuries. There is a report of one more death. It is truly shocking that the Sangh Parivar members involved in these attacks set fire to an orphanage along with churches, shops and huts.  While the killing of VHP leader Lakshmananda Saraswati along with his colleagues was a heinous act, the attacks by his supporters on poor Christian tribals, women and children is most reprehensible.  The Govt. of Orissa has blamed Maoists for the VHP killings so it is clear that no ordinary Christian citizens were in any way involved in that crime. 

AIDWA appeals to the Govt. of Orissa and to the Chief Minister in particular to ensure protection to all those who have been rendered vulnerable to attacks from Sangh Parivar activists.  These attacks have been periodically occurring for the last 6 months and there is a complete failure on the part of the State Government to intervene effectively.  Now with increased tensions, the Govt. needs to take strong and effective action against those who are attacking Christians and their religious and social organizations with impunity. Equally, those responsible for the VHP leaders’ murders must also be apprehended.  The Government must also help to rebuild all damaged and destroyed structures and give all possible help for reconstruction and rehabilitation.