Tuesday, January 01, 2008

88 places of worship now destroyed or damaged in violence starting Christmas Eve and still continuing

The following letter to the President of India mentions 50 places of worship destroyed or damaged in the Phulbani District of Orissa (that was the right figure to the best of public knowledge then).

However, the best figure available now is 88 places of worship destroyed or damaged.

Loss of life and injury to individuals as well as to property continues....

To Her Excellency the President of India
-through His Excellency, Mr S C Jamir, Governor of Goa

Your Excellency Madam President

We the undersigned members of the Writers' Forum assembled here in Goa for our second annual meeting, taking note of the international damage to India's reputation due to events of the last few days:

1. Are horrified to hear of the destruction of 50 places of worship in 5 days of ongoing violence so far in Orissa, beginning on Christmas Eve (December 24, 2007), with attendant loss of life and damage to property, due to a premeditated and well-planned campaign of violence which was prepared for with public statements from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and associated bodies regarding their intention to launch such a campaign (and we note that they are still making public statements regarding their intention to continue such a campaign);

2. Are grieved at the relative inaction of the Central Government, with not even a statement condemning the violence let alone asserting the determination of the Central Government to ensure the peace and security of the Indian people;

3. Note with astonishment the reported statement of the Union Home Minister that he cannot ensure that the guilty parties will be brought to justice - such a statement is tantamount to shirking the responsibilities he has taken upon himself;

4. Denounce the failure of the Orissa State Government to learn the lessons of the history of such planned campaigns in other parts of India as well as in Orissa itself, for example at the time of the murder of Graham Staines and his two young sons; if the State Government had learnt the lessons of those campaigns, it would have put measures in place to prevent a recurrence of such things;

5. Recognise the complicity of the machinery of the State Government in the violence by means of deliberate delays in registering FIRs and responding to unfolding events, and then providing unbelievably weak excuses for their failure;

6. In view of the above-mentioned complicity, we reject the appointment of the Judicial Probe by the State Government, and insist on the institution of a CBI probe into the events, including the behaviour of the Orissa Chief Minister, the Orissa Home Minister and the relevant Police Authorities; and

7. Call for the banning of the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on the grounds of their being organisations that have publicly stated and now repeatedly demonstrated in practice their intention of subverting and opposing some of the basics of the Indian Constitution by illegal and violent means;

Finally, Madam President, we call on you to intervene in order to ensure that the Central and State Governments do not continue in their failure to fulfil their most basic duty to protect life and property within the Indian Union.

Respectfully submitted

Dr. A. Y. Aghamkar
S. A. Aghamkar
S. Andrade
J. Chacko
E. S. Daliya
N. M. Daliya
A. Fernandes
P. S. Guptara
P. M. Guptara
R. Guptara
S. Guptara
J. Guptara
I. Kostka
R. Mangalwadi
Dr. V. Mangalwadi
B. Verghese

- the Prime Minister,
- the Union Home Minister,
- the Leader of the Opposition
- the Chief Minister of Orissa, and
- the Press and Media. Sphere: Related Content

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