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India: Christianity

Volume 497: debated on Wednesday 14 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to address the problems faced by Christians in Orissa state, India. (292760)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Ministers expressed their concerns directly to the Indian government at the time the violence occurred in 2008. The Indian central government has since urged the state government of Orissa, who are responsible for law and order in the state under the Indian constitution, to prevent any further such incidents. It has also offered compensation and assistance to victims of communal violence in India, including in Orissa. The EU sent a fact-finding mission to Orissa in December 2008 (in which a member of our high commission participated). Our high commission subsequently discussed the findings of that visit with the Indian government in Delhi, and also raised the issue of minority rights in Orissa at the last EU-India Human Rights Dialogue meeting in February 2009. They will participate in a further EU visit to Orissa, which is currently planned for December.