Court asks Orissa to report back on safety of Christians

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a reply from the Orissa government on the Cuttack archbishop's plea for the safety of Christians in the state.
Violence in the wake of the killilng of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader has led to the burning down of many churches and homes and killing of at least 16 people.
Seeking an urgent reply from the state a bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and justices P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal will today hold a detailed hearing on Archbishop Raphael Cheenath's plea.

Fearing renewed violence during a proposed procession led by VHP leader Praveen Togadia to take Saraswati's ashes for immersion in a river the bench also asked the state to detail steps taken to ensure that no violence takes place.

The fear was expressed by archbishop's counsel Colin Gonsalves who told the court that there had been a spurt of violence in which several people were killed during the funeral procession.
Appearing for the union government Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told the court that union Home Minister Shivraj Patil was touring the state with senior officials to assess the situation.
He said the union government would apprise the court of the situation in consultation with the state.
The archbishop said the state was deliberately not deploying enough security in the villages.