India: I’m sorry: PC to Kandhamal riot victims & Malegaon blast accused’s aide held for attacking churches, killing worker

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June 27, 2009

I’m sorry: PC to Kandhamal riot victims
Source: Agencies & HTC, Hindustan Times

“I AM sorry...,” Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday told Kandhamal riot victims at a relief camp Phulbani.

Chidambaram, on a two-day visit to Orissa, met the victims living in relief camps set up after a series of communal clashes rocked the state in August last. The killing of 85-year-old Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati triggered the riots.

“I’m sorry that certain things happened last year and you have been brought to these camps. But you must go back to your villages. I am here to tell you, don’t fear,” he said.

“Whatever happened was wrong. Build your churches and practice your dharma.”

When some voiced fear of the RSS and Bajrang Dal, the minister said those responsible for the violence will be punished.

The Home Minister visited Mandaika, Rahikola, Tinigia and Tikabali camps in the district. Around 1,500 people are living in these camps.

He also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed the security situation in Naxal-affected areas.

To the demand for more central forces, he said, “The primary responsibility must be taken by the state government to fight the Naxals.”

Malegaon blast accused’s aide held for attacking churches, killing worker

Source: HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

An alleged aide of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, has been arrested for his “involvement” in various attacks on churches in Delhi and a churchworker’s murder in Noida in the past one year.

The Delhi Police arrested Shailendra Chauhan (25) alias Uday Pratap Singh from Harsh Vihar area in northeast Delhi on Thursday night.

“So far, we’ve found his involvement in three cases of assault and attack on Christian priests and churches in Noida and Delhi,” said S.S. Yadav, deputy commissioner of police (northeast).

On September 14, Chauhan had reportedly vandalised and desecrated a church at Sarita Vihar in south Delhi.

The police said on October 19, he had killed Conrad Dominic Xavier (25) who was working for a priest at a church at Sector 20 in Noida.

On January 5, Chauhan had attacked a priest with a poison-filled injection at a church at Sector 34 in Noida, the police said. A case of attempt to murder was registered against him at the time.

The police said Chauhan owes allegiance to the Vishwa Hindu Mahasangh and Abhinav Bharat, a Hindu nationalist organisation.

“During preliminary interrogation, Chauhan confessed his role in the three cases,” said Yadav.

“He was trying to meet another person involved in cases of vandalism and arson at churches.”

The police claimed Chauhan had disclosed his links with Sadhvi Pragya Singh.

The sadhvi is one of the prime accused in the Malegaon blast of September 29, 2008.

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations