Indian Forces Set to Leave Orissa

Some church leaders have expressed alarm over the Indian federal government’s plan to withdraw its forces from Orissa State. “The situation is still very tense and the withdrawal of federal forces will cause panic among people,” said the Rev. Ajay Singh, who tracks casualties from Hindu-led violence for the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar. But some observers maintain that the local police can handle the situation now that Orissa has a secular government. The Indian government announced on June 1 that it would withdraw its paramilitary forces from the Kandhamal district of Orissa within a month. Government forces were sent to the district two weeks after Hindu extremists launched a sustained wave of violence against Christians in the eastern state in August 2008. The attacks claimed approximately 90 lives and left more than 50,000 people, mostly Christians, homeless.

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