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SC/ST panel to probe Orissa violence

Source: PTI
October 08, 2008 12:10 IST
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With violence continuing against the Dalit and tribal Christians in Orissa, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes has decided to inquire into the matter.

A full-fledged team of the Commission chaired by NCSC Chairman Buta Singh is visting Orissa on October 17 for a two-day enquiry into the whole episode.

The team will visit the worst affected Kandhamal district and adjoining areas to assess the situation. NCSC members will also hold meetings with the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and DGP of the state.

The Commission will examine cases of attacks against Dalit Christians and also assess the steps taken by the state government to safeguard their life and property.

The Commission had earlier sought a detailed report from the Orissa Chief Secretary on the communal violence there after the killing of VHP leader Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23.

A fortnight back, the Orissa government apprised the Commission of the background of the violence and the measures taken by it to control communal clashes and compensate victims.

Apparently dissatisfied with the report as complaints kept pouring in, the Commission decided to carry out an on-the-spot enquiry. Moreover, over a dozen organisations approached the Commission drawing its attention to the plight of Dalit Christians after the communal flare up.

They have submitted representations to the Commission alleging that Dalit and tribal Christians are being attacked in the state in a planned manner.

According to one such representation, Orissa has around nine lakh Christians, mostly from Dalit and Tribal communities, out of which around 1.2 lakh live in Kandhamal district alone.

After examining the complaints, the Commission will submit a report to the Central government. The Commission will return to New Delhi on September 18.
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