07/25/2009, 00.00
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Orissa, Hindu nationalist party opposed to "Peace and Harmony" day

by Nirmala Carvalho
BJP leaders claim the celebration will spark "tensions and communal clashes." Hindu intellectuals stress the need for "justice" and ensure compensation "to innocent victims."

Kandhamal (AsiaNews) - The Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is opposed to the celebration of the day for "Peace and Harmony" in Orissa - August 23 2009 - one year exactly from the assassination of Swami Lakhmananda Saraswati, that sparked the anti-Christian pogrom.  

Karendra Majhi, leader of the BJP in Baliguda - Kandhamal district - said that "holding a day of peace and harmony August 23 will serve only to foment communal tension" and warned of the danger of renewed fighting and violence.

Even Swami Agnivesh, a Hindu intellectual, activist and president of the World Council of Arya Samaj, is opposed to the day because "the International Day of Peace is celebrated September 21” and you can not merge the idea of peace with an event “that unleashed murders, rapes and all sorts of brutality against innocent victims”.  He adds that it is now necessary to "do justice" and ensure “compensation and support for Christian victims of violence".  

"The work of assistance to refugees is not complete – continues the Swami (pictured with the interviewer) – compensation is inadequate and in many cases not even distributed. Our goal must be the rehabilitation of the widows of Kandhamal, ensuring that orphans receive a proper education because they are our future, and work to build a society of peace and harmony”.

 In matters of religious freedom, the Hindu scholar confirms that "it is the most important human right" and includes "the freedom of choice and conversion." "Even I have converted from the Brahmin Hindu religion ... and now that I am Swami I do not have a particular religion. I am simply a human being”.   "We need the richness and spirituality that are present in every religion - Swami Agnivesh concludes – to transform all humanity into one family. We must respond to the needs of those who are poorest of the poor, the voiceless”, as Mother Teresa of Calcutta always said.



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