Mental shift

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CSW urges EU to speak out on Orissa violence

Posted by jytmkh on September 27, 2008

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) yesterday sent letters to EU leaders urging the EU to use Monday’s EU-India Summit to make representations about the continued targeting of Christians by extremist Hindu nationalists in Orissa.

The letters to the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, Commisioner Ferrero-Waldner and General-Secretary Solana, coincide with reports of fresh arson attacks on churches and houses of Christians, and a mob assault on a police station following the arrest of two Hindus for rioting.

The correspondence also follows a resolution adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday, which expressed “deep concern” at the violence and called on the state and national authorities “to do all in their power fully to protect the Christian minority”.

The letters describe the violence as “extremely serious”, and provide an assessment based on first-hand testimony from victims and eyewitnesses and the analysis of local NGO leaders, Christian leaders and Hindu civil society observers.

It notes the ongoing coercive conversions of Christians to Hinduism and calls on the EU to make nine recommendations to the Indian government. These include the deployment of a considerably larger security force, the provision of investigating officers and public prosecutors to expedite prosecutions and convictions as well as the provision of a more comprehensive package of relief to the displaced persons in Orissa.

CSW Advocacy Director, Tina Lambert said: “The 2005 EU-India Strategic Partnership Joint Action Plan included a commitment to upholding human rights and a continuation of dialogue. In light of the extremely serious ongoing situation in Orissa, we request that EU leaders use Monday’s Summit to raise this issue and urge the Indian government to take decisive action.

“To protect the Christian community the violence must be brought under control and the victims assisted in filing cases. The perpetrators and those inciting violence must be prosecuted and the root causes of the aggression, including the propagation of anti-Christian hatred, must be addressed.

“Until this happens, we believe that Kandhamal will continue to be locked in violence which seeks the elimination of the Christian community in that district.” (Christian Today)

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