“Demand growing for President’s rule”
NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday hinted that the Centre might have to invoke Article 356 of the Constitution to impose President’s Rule in Orissa if the continued violence in the State was not brought under control.
In an interview to a private television channel, Mr. Patil termed the “inaction” of the Orissa government in controlling the violence a “violation of the Constitution” and said “there is a growing demand for President’s rule if the situation worsens.”
Noting that police forces and helicopters had been provided to control the situation, he said the Centre was unhappy with the Orissa government’s lack of action.
Six warnings sent
The Centre had already sent six warnings to the State government and “merely continuing to ask for additional forces after every few days cannot be a solution. The State government has to implement [an] overall strategy for creating [an] environment of security,” he added.
The Bharatiya Janata Party was quick to react. Senior leader M. Venkaiah Naidu said while violence anywhere was condemnable, the United Progressive Alliance government did nothing when there were violent incidents in Nandigram in West Bengal and an agitation against Hindi-speaking people in Assam led to the cold-blooded murder of some people. Why did not Mr. Patil then think about imposing President’s Rule in those States?
The violence in Orissa began on August 23 following the murder of Vishwa Hindu Parishad activist Lakshmanananda, who was aggressively pursuing the VHP’s re-conversion programme, ghar vapasi (homecoming). Since then hundreds of Christian homes have been set on fire and thousands have fled their villages and taken shelter in forests or relief camps.
I can identify men who raped me: nun
While demanding justice, a nun who was raped in Kandhamal district has claimed that she can identify the culprits.
The nun said she was dragged by the hair by men from a Hindu household where she was hiding. “...Two men were holding my hand, one raped me,” she told CNN-IBN from an ‘undisclosed location.’
She demanded justice not only for herself “but for the sake of the people I was working with.” The nun appealed to the State government to ensure protection to the people of Kandhamal and said the situation had been bad for far too long.
Blaming the police for inaction, the nun claimed that when she and others were being taken towards a market, the policemen present there failed to protect them. “... they were sitting like stones. They did not talk or move,” she said.
Speaking to NDTV, the nun said: “I asked the police for help but they just looked on. Those who were mute spectators should also be punished.”
She has left Orissa and is not sure whether she will return to Kandhamal.Related Stories: