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John Dayal

Archbishop of Orissa announces Day of Peace and Harmony

Bhubaneswar, India: July 24, 2009. (PCP report) Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, SVD, Dr.Swarupananda Patra Archbishop, President, Orissa Minority Forum, Archdiocese of Cuttack- Bhubaneswar Chairman, Orissa Secular Front, Orissa said here today that Orissa is known as the land of “peace and harmony”. But this peace and harmony was shattered by the gruesome murder of Swami Lakhmananda Saraswati and his disciples on August 23, 2008 and the ensuing mindless violence against innocent men, women and children in Kandhamal and across Orissa. By perpetrating this mindless and brutal violence on the Swami, his disciples and hundreds and thousands of innocent people, the criminals have tarnished the image of Orissa and India in the sight of the global community.

As the law of the land searches for those who conducted these heinous acts, we await patiently for the true criminals to be booked as per law. At this critical juncture we will not allow criminalization of those past painful events to reoccur. Since “Peace and Harmony” was disturbed on August 23, 2008, leading to ensuing violence for several months, it is necessary to establish and remember August 23, 2009 as a day for “Peace and Harmony” so that the evil designs of “Criminals” to divide the civil society on religious lines is strongly thwarted. In order to ensure that such hate campaign and violence do not wreak havoc in the land of “peaceful” Orissa, the Christian community and minority leadership represented by us express the strong desire to:

  1. Launch August 23, 2009 as a day to be observed for Peace and Harmony in remembrance of the killing of Swamiji, his disciples and many innocent people in the subsequent violence perpetrating on thousands of innocent people in Kandhamal and across the State of Orissa.

  2. Calling on the civil society to unite in the face of continued evil designs of “criminals” to disrupt the peaceful co-existence of communities in Orissa.

  3. Calling on the Government of India and State Government of Orissa to declare and observe the day as a day for Peace and Harmony.

  4. Calling on the United Nations to declare the day as a “Global Day for Peace and Harmony” to ensure that such violence is not perpetuated on any community or individuals in any part of the world.

  5. Calling on the International Community to observe it as a Day for Peace and Harmony in memory of the pain and suffering faced in Kandhamal.

  6. To strongly request the State Government of Orissa and the Government of India to provide complete security and protection to religious minorities, their lives, property, institutions, places of worship, etc. from being attacked and destroyed, more so since “criminals” might want to indulge in any wrongful action against the civil society on such sensitive days.

  7. To strongly request the State Government of Orissa and Government of India to provide complete security to Swamijis, their disciples and Ashrams since any violence on them is misused by “Criminals” to attack religious minority and spread terror.
We hope this message of goodwill and harmony would spread across the land of Orissa and India. Let us “forgive and forget” the past and build a strong and integrated civil society which is not ravaged by the evil designs of criminals and trouble mongers. Let us unite for peace and harmony in our State of Orissa and across India.

Landelijke India Werkgroep / India Committee of The Netherlands - July 24, 2009