Hindu Extremists Will Not Demonstrate On Christmas

December 23, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Asia News


The authorities in Orissa's communally sensitive Kandhamal district have sought more security forces from the state government, following threats of strikes and demonstrations by radical Hindu groups. “We may have violence.” For this reason we “have sought three companies of the Rapid Action Forces (RAF) and two units of the ODRAF (Orissa Disaster Rapid Action Force),” district collector Krishan Kumar said.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik met representatives of Hindu groups in order to get them to call off demonstrations planned for Christmas. The groups’ leaders accepted telling the authorities that no demonstrations or official marches will take place during Christian holidays and for the following two months.

The Orissa government had already banned all marches or demonstrations for 25 December.

Initially the nationalists had agreed to the ban so long as the authorities could close the case on the murder of Laxmanananda Saraswati, Viúhwa Hindû Parishad (VHP) leader assassinated on 23 August.

Fear of Christmas demonstrations had led a Christian delegation to meet Orissa’s chief minister.Led My Mgr Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, the group met Mr Naveen Patnaik to express their communities’ concerns and to ask for greater security during the Christmas holidays.

Following anti-Christian violence that began in September some 4,000 police agents were deployed in the district. The arrival of more police forces might further reduce tensions in the district.