THE All India Christian Council (AICC) has sent a memorandum to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, and Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik calling for a National Investigation Agency probe into links between Sangh Parivar members currently accused of terror and the outbreak of violence in Orissa during 2007-2008.
“We demand that the National Investigation Agency probe Sangh terror suspects Indresh, Aseemanand, Col. Purohit, Dr. Praveen Togadia and others in Kandhamal violence of 2007-2008,” said the memo.
AICC secretary general John Dayal said: “There is no doubt that elements of the Sangh Parivar were involved in the violence. We understand that leaders such as Dr. Praveen Togadia masterminded the long journey of the body of the late Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati after he was assassinated by Maoists. This funeral procession was directly responsible for fuelling the violence.”
Newspaper reports show there was a sleeper conspiracy involving Sangh leaders. Military intelligence quoted in media reports said that Lt. Colonel Prasad Srikant Purohit and his organisation ‘Abhinav Bharat’ targeted Christians in several locations including north Karnataka, Pune, Jabalpur, and Bhopal. Purohit’s key aide Sameer Kulkarni was allegedly behind the killing of two Christians in Orissa in August 2008.
There were serial murders and mass arson against Christian Dalits and tribals in Kandhamal, Orissa in two phases: in December 2007 and August-December 2008.
The 2008 violence spread across 13 other districts of Orissa. In Kandhamal alone, more than 6,600 homes were destroyed, 56,000 people rendered homeless, thousands injured, and about 100 men and women burnt alive or hacked to death. Among the women raped was a Catholic nun. Despite a massive effort by charities and because of slow government grants, just two thirds of the houses have been rebuilt.
“The major crisis is not the lack of rehabilitation. It is in the criminal justice system. Despite two fast track courts, over two thirds of the cases have ended in acquittals including most of the murder cases. Among the accused is a BJP member of the State Assembly who continues to roam free despite a Supreme Court order cancelling his bail,” Dayal added.