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Orissa violence figures in EU Parliament

Questions have been asked by European Parliamentarians on the Christmas 2007 anti Christian violence in the Kandhamala district of Orissa by VHP activists.

Europe MP Mr. Jim Allister asked:

"Is the EU Commission for External Relations aware of the widespread violence against Christians perpetrated by Hindu extremists in Kandhamala district, Orissa, during the week that preceded Christmas? Reports indicate that several Christians have been murdered, 65 churches have been burnt down, 600 homes of Christians have been destroyed, and hundreds of Christians have been displaced since the violence began on Christmas Eve. Has the Commission made representations to the Indian authorities to ensure that a thorough investigation be undertaken by the Central Bureau of Investigation and that police accept the complaint of the victims? Will the Commission make sure that action is taken against the perpetrators under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes Act and that justice is delivered by an appropriate court?"

The answer given by Mrs. Ferrero-Waldner on behalf of the EU Commission for External Relations Commission on 13 February 2008 was:

"The Commission is aware of reports of recent violence against Christians, their homes and churches perpetrated by religious extremists in Kandhamala district, Orissa. In response to these events, Commission officials in Brussels have shared with Indian counterparts the concern widely felt in Europe over the scale of the violence and the targeting of the vulnerable part of the population. Indian officials have manifested awareness of the importance of pursuing justice and protecting the vulnerable in this situation. The Commission was also informed that, under Indian law, state government authorities hold the primary responsibility for law and order in the area. The Commission has received assurances that the Indian Government will ensure that action is taken. The Indian Embassy has also undertaken to provide further information in the future. The Commission's Delegation in New Delhi will continue to gather information on the violence in Orissa. The Commission's Delegation in New Delhi will follow closely the decision taken by the judicial system against the perpetrators of these acts. In addition, the Delhi-based National Commission for Minorities (NCM) is expected to publish a report on the situation, prepared by the team, which the NCM sent on a fact-finding mission to Orissa earlier in January 2008."

Landelijke India Werkgroep / India Committee of The Netherlands - March 4, 2008