Indian Christians Welcome Court Decision on '08 Violence

KANDHAMAL, India, SEPT. 2, 2011 ( Christians in the state of Orissa are welcoming a Monday high court decision mandating the National Human Rights Commission to draw up a status report on efforts to compensate victims of anti-Christian violence.

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The decision responds to the outbreak of violence that began almost exactly three years ago, when nearly 300 villages were attacked, bringing the deaths of more than 70 people.

At least 25,000 people fled for their lives in the violence that was sparked by the killing of politician Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, on Aug. 23, 2008.

UCANews reported that Bipra Charan Nayak, convener of the Survivors Association of Kandhamal Violence, said, «We welcome the court order as it could help restore things to what they were before the violence began.»

The court decision was a response to a petition filed by retired Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar.

The commission is to draw up the report within six weeks.

Father Manoj Kumar Nayak, director of the archdiocesan social service center, told UCANews that the Church has petitioned the government several times about property destroyed in the violence, but has yet to receive any compensation.

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