Christian families remain fearful in India, two years after attacks

politics | Oct 25, 2010 | By Spero News

Echoing the Catholic Church's concerns in India, a top government official has said that hundreds of riot-hit villagers in Orissa are still to return to their homes even two years after the anti-Christian violence.

Kandhamal district collector Krishna Kumar, after a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to review the relief measures for the riot victims, on Oct 18 said that 200 families were yet to return to their homes.

The district administration, however, disagrees on the lack of adequate security measures and appeals to people to return without fear.

Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) H T Sangliana had last month visited the district after complaints that large number of people are still living under the fear of extremists.

Sangliana said that many victims still lived in temporary shelters “as their houses were not built due to lack of money” and recommended the Centre and the state governments to increase the compensation given to the people to re-build their homes.

The Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath had recently demanded formation of an independent committee to assess the compensation being paid to victims of the 2008 anti-Christian violence.

In a memorandum submitted to Patnaik, the archbishop said compensation should not only include houses, but also household items.

A public tribunal on Kandhamal had concluded that anti-Christian violence in the state was an orchestrated attempt by Hindu fanatics to enslave lower cast people.

The Hindu extremist violence, which lasted from September to December 2008, killed 93 people and left some 50,000 people homeless. Some 6,500 houses, 350 churches and 45 health and educational institutes were destroyed, burnt or looted.

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