Very little done for Kandhamal victims, says Archbishop

“17,500 people still living away from their native villages”

August 31, 2010 01:15 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:25 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR

The Orissa government has failed to wipe the tears and heal the wounds of the Christian community in Kandhamal even two years after the anti-Christian violence in the district, said Raphael Cheenath, Archbishop of Catholic Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, here on Monday.

Addressing a press conference along with Swarupananda Patra, president of the Orissa Minority Forum, the Archbishop said the State government had been making tall claims about rehabilitation and payment of compensation to the victims while very little had been done for the thousands of affected people till date.

“The battered and impoverished Christian community now stands vulnerable even as the State government remains in a state of denial, refusing to even acknowledge the crisis, much less taking any action,” they said.

Stating that members of the Christian community were still living in fear, the Archbishop said although about 12,500 people had been resettled in their rebuilt houses, about 17,500 people were still living away from their native villages.

The compensation of Rs. 50,000 for fully damaged houses and Rs. 20,000 for so-called partially damaged ones was also grossly inadequate considering the market rates of construction, they pointed out.

Observing that the State government had arbitrarily fixed the compensation amount without consulting the victims, they said Church bodies had helped to rebuild about 2,500 houses from their resources and about 3,500 houses still remained half-built or un-built.

While seeking enhanced compensation for the victims, they also demanded that the State government give compensation to the families of those killed and those who were injured in the violence. The government must reopen all criminal cases that had been closed because of want of evidence and order proper probe, they demanded.

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