Orissa pogrom: Church helps Hindu victim to get compensation *CBI probe sought into Sr. Valsa’s murder

February 13, 2012 by  
Filed under India, Kerala, newsletter-india, Orissa, Persecution

Church helps Hindu victim to get compensationOrissa, February 09, 2012: Kandhamal Authority will pay the man 50 thousand rupees (about 760 euros). During the anti-Christian violence in 2008, Hindu ultranationalists burned the house of Ashor Kumar Ray, 45. A lawyer for the Archdiocese’ Commission for Justice, Peace and Development assisted the man in bringing his trial to the State High Court.

Authorities in Kandhamal (Orissa) have compensated a Hindu victims of the pogroms of 2008 to the sum of 50 thousand rupees (about 760 euros). The support of the Catholic Church, through the Archdiocese of Bhubaneswar, was essential as it provided the man a lawyer. The home of Ashor Kumar Ray, 45, was destroyed during the anti-Christian violence, unleashed by the Hindu ultra-nationalists,.

“My family and I – Ashor tells AsiaNews – had a nice house in the village of Nedipadar. During the pogrom, it was burned along with all my possessions. So, I filed a report at the Phiringia police station, but nobody ever followed up. ” At first, authorities in Kandhamal included the house on the list of properties for which compensation had been decided. Then, officials rejected any form of compensation, arguing that the man’s house was on the list “by mistake”.

So at the end of 2011 Ashor turned to the Commission of Justice, Peace and Development of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. “It was said – he reveals – that the archdiocese helped the victims of the pogrom in Kandhamal. I went there, I explained my predicament, and the Legal Aid Centre lawyers assured me of their support in my legal battle. ”

Lawyers for the archdiocese submitted the case to the High Court of Orissa, after 42 days it decided in Ashor’s favor and ordered the authorities of the district to pay a compensation of 50 thousand rupees.

Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu ultranationalists killed 93 people, burned and looted more than 6,500 homes, destroyed over 350 churches and 45 schools. Because of the pogroms, in 2008 more than 50 thousand people, mostly Christians, were displaced. Today, there are still 10 thousand refugees. The Church in Orissa has begun reconstruction and assistance programs, for both Christians and Hindus affected by the violence.

– asianews

CBI probe sought into Sr. Valsa’s murder


CBI probe sought into Sr. Valsa’s murderNew Delhi, February 12, 2012: A four-member had visited the site of the murder in Jharkhand for an on-the-spot study.

Four members of a fact-finding team have urged the Jharkhand government to order a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the murder of Sr Valsa John last November.

“We urge the state government to demand a CBI enquiry or judicial probe to ascertain the real facts behind the murder,” John Dayal, member National integration council, who led the fact-finding team, told a press conference in Delhi yesterday.

Sr. Helen Saldanha, secretary, office for Women of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Sr. Mary Scaria, a Supreme Court lawyer and John Mathew, a photo journalist were the other members of the team who went to Pachwara in Jharkhand’s Pakur district on January 6, where the nun was brutally murdered on the night of November 15.

In their report, the team, said that Sr. John was a hindrance to the coal mafia’s plans to acquire tribals’ lands for expanding mining activities in the area.

The 53-year-old nun from the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was active in mobilising and empowering tribals against mining by PANEM coalmines in the area and ensuring that they got their due rights by way of rehabilitation.

The report stated that the company realised that as long as Sr. Valsa was there, the people could not be displaced or cheated easily.

“It is important that deep investigations are carried out not just into her murder but the grassroots situation and events since the mine was leased out by the government,” Dayal said.

Claiming that there was more to the sister’s murder, he said that the investigations into the brutal killing of the nun had been “biased and blind”.

Sr. Saldanha said that “the locals must have been instigated to kill the nun”.

Till now only seven people have been arrested in connection with the murder.

Meanwhile, the All India Catholic Union (AICU) too has demanded a CBI enquiry into the matter.

– ritu sharma

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