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Article 355 never invoked against Orissa, K’taka: Centre

Seven general advisories to maintain law and order were sent to Orissa in less than two months.

Seven general advisories to maintain law and order were sent to Orissa in less than two months as the state recorded highest communal violence incidents that has left 41 people dead so far.

The Ministry, which overlooks the internal security in the country, could not do much to stop attacks on minorities other than sending seven general advisories to Orissa asking the state to take “stringent action” against the perpetrators of the violence.

“The Government never invoked Article 355 to warn Orissa and Karnataka to rein in violence following attacks on churches and prayer halls in the state,” a Home Ministry official said.

The provision of the Constitution enables the Centre to issue a direction under which the state should be ruled in accordance with the Constitution failing which it becomes a fit case for imposition of Central rule.

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“Seven advisories or communications were sent to the government of Orissa between August 25 and October 10 at various levels, including the Home Secretary and the Union Home Minister,” the official said.

In these advisories, Orissa government was asked to take stringent action against the persons indulging in communal violence, including identifying and apprehending the elements inciting and stocking communal violence and hatred.

The Home Ministry asked the state government to ensure arrangements to provide security to members of the minority community and their places of worship, undertake comprehensive measures for relief and rehabilitation of the victims and other affected persons.

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The Centre also asked Orissa to take “effective steps” to create an environment in which people who had to leave homes could return at the earliest.

Besides, on October three, Home Minister Shivraj Patil shot off a strongly-worded letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asking him to take effective measures and provide security for the community.

The letter came following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement expressing anguish over the situation in Orissa on which he had to face embarrassment during the recent India-EU Summit in Marseilles.

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After the killing of the VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati on August 23, Orissa has witnessed large scale violence against Christians, which claimed nearly 40 lives.

Parts of Karnataka have also witnessed a series of attacks on churches and Christian community allegedly by the activists of Sangh Parivar outfits last month.

First published on: 27-10-2008 at 04:14:24 pm
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