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Bishop of Orissa: let Christians in refugee camps vote

ICC Note: If the Christians of Orissa cannot vote, the Hindu radicals will have achieved one of their primary objectives.

by Nirmala Carvalho
04/02/09 Bhubaneshwar, India (AsiaNews) – Ballot boxes in the refugee camps, and the possibility of voting by mail. These are the requests of Raphael Cheenath, archbishop of Cuttak-Bhubaneswar, in order to permit the Christians of Kandhamal (Orissa) to participate in the elections on April 16 and 23, for the renewal of the Lok Sabha, the Indian parliament.

During the pogroms in August and September, the Christians of Orissa did not suffer only physical violence and the destruction of their homes. The Hindu fundamentalists also burned their identification documents. As of today, there are more than 70,000 Christians whose names are not shown on the voter lists, most of them from the district of Kandhamal. Many of them cannot return to their villages of origin, and risk being unable to exercise their right to vote. Many suspect that the elimination of the Christian vote was at the origin of the pogrom, to the advantage of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which defends Hindu extremism… [Go To Full Story]