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India: Christianity

Volume 481: debated on Thursday 23 October 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Indian Government on the alleged persecution of Christians in Orissa state; and if he will make a statement. (226082)

We are deeply concerned by the recent reports of attacks against Christians in Orissa. There can be no justification for such violent attacks against innocent people. On 1 October, my noble Friend the Minister of State for Asia, Africa and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown raised the matter with the Indian High Commissioner and on 17 October he raised it in Delhi with the Minister of External Affairs, Arnand Sharma. He also used his recent visit to India to raise it with the chairman of the Minorities Commission, Mr. Mohammed Quereshi. We understand that the Indian Government fully recognise the seriousness of these incidents and are engaged with the Orissa State authorities in restoring law and order to that region.