Naveen, BSY pick holes in Govt claims

via Pioneer News Service | New Delhi published on October 14, 2008

The Chief Ministers of Karnataka and Orissa, the two States where communal violence prompted the Central Government to call the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting, have shot back at their critics for trying to “frame” the State Governments “without any reason”.


Seeking to deflect attention from the Bajrang Dal, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday said the recent incidents of violence were a manifestation of the “conflict of interest” between Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Speaking at the NIC meeting, Patnaik referred to the two incidents of communal violence in Kandhamal and said there were clashes between members of SC and ST communities in the past “on account of the conflict of interest in the matter of land rights, employment opportunities and religion”.

“The recent incidents of violence in Kandhamal are a manifestation of such discord,” he said about the district where STs constitute 53 per cent of the population and SCs constitute 22 per cent.

Patnaik insisted that the State had been having an “excellent track record of communal harmony” for eight years, “barring the two sets of incidents in one district” — Kandhamal.

With his Government facing flak over recent attacks against churches, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa blamed certain Christain organisations for flaring up “disharmony and social tension” in the State.

“While Christians and Hindus have co-existed peacefully in the State, there have been unconstitutional and illegal efforts by some Christian organisations, such as ‘New Life’, to forcibly convert or to induce conversion to Christianity,” he told the NIC meeting.

“Efforts of such organisations include publishing booklets like ‘Satya Darshini’ in which Hindu gods and goddesses were denigrated. Our constitution provides for freedom of religion but does not permit forcible or induced conversion,” he said.

He also criticised some Union Ministers and alleged political vendetta. “It was very unfortunate that our State was targeted for political vendetta by Ministers and officials of the Government of India,” he said.

He stressed that there was no need to send Central advisories or rush a team to Karnataka in the aftermath of the attacks on minorities. “There have been serious communal and terrorists activities in other States such as
Jammu and Kashmir
, Tripura,
and Andhra Pradesh. The Union Government was not so active in sending advisory notes at times touted as notices (under Article 355) to these States,” he added.


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