SC SAYS NO TO MINORITY PERSECUTION

The Supreme Court on January 5 said it would not allow “persecution” of minorities and asked the Orissa government to resign if it was unable to protect Christians who were targeted in recent riots that followed the assassination of a VHP leader.

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The Supreme Court on January 5 said it would not allow “persecution” of minorities and asked the Orissa government to resign if it was unable to protect Christians who were targeted in recent riots that followed the assassination of a VHP leader. “We are a secular country. We cannot allow persecution of minorities,” a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said. The Bench, which also comprised Justices Markandey Katju and P Sathasivam, criticised the state government for allegedly stepping in late to check the violence against the minority community. “It is the duty of the state government to protect the minority community. You (State) have done only after 50,000 people of the minority community fled to the jungles,” the Bench said when senior advocate K K Venugopal said that the Orissa government has complied with the orders of this court. “We will not accept the persecution of minority. If the state government is unable to protect them it should resign,” Justice Katju observed and added “we have to protect the minority”.

“No minority community should be insecure in the country,” he said. The apex court, which in October last had directed the stationing of para-military forces in the riot-hit areas till December-end in view of Christmas, asked the Orissa government not to take any unilateral decision on its withdrawal. The Bench said any decision on withdrawal of central forces should take place in coordination with the Centre.