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National Minority Right Day Award to Kandhamal priest



New Delhi, 06 July 2013: Fr. Ajay Kumar Singh, a human right activist from Kandhamal in the Indian state of Orissa, was conferred the National Minority Right Day Award by the National Commission for Minorities on Friday – Minority Right Day, at Vigyan Bhavan by the former Lok Sabha Speaker Mr. Somnath Chatterjee.

Fr. Ajay Singh has been conferred this award with a cash money of Rs. two lakhs and a citation, in recognition of his relentless service to defend the rights of the Christian minority in the Kandhamal district of Orissa.

The Chief Guest Mr. Somnath Chatterjee in his speech emphasized the fact of the age old Indian tradition of different religions living in peace and harmony and how our Constitution guarantees the rights of every citizen, including the minorities in the country. He suggested that there be a Parliamentary Committee to oversee the situation of religious minorities on the pattern of the Committee on Scheduled Castes. He said it was time for India to have a Equal Opportunities Commission. Dr. Wajahat Habibullah, the Chairman of the NCM had earlier stated the value of such an award and how it was important that persons like Fr. Singh be recognized for their services to society.

Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi, while congratulating Fr. Singh has appealed to all the minorities of the country not to be afraid to voice their concerns in public and especially asked the Christian community to continue to work towards peace, harmony and development of our dear motherland.

Meanwhile Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Friday wrote to National Commission for Minorities (NCM) opposing any award or honor to Kandhmal priest Father Ajay Kumar Singh. In his letter, the state Secretary General VHP Satyendra Mohan said that it may have serious consequences as also confirmed by the Government of Odisha, as the person to whom the award is being conferred is involved in large scale conversions, working against the tribes since a long time and is main conspirator behind brutal murder of Saint Swami Laxmananand Saraswati in Kandhmal in the year 2008. VHP has also threatened to stage protests if NCM honors him.

Manish Rai, Co-Spokesperson of VHP Delhi, in a press release said that it is very serious that the NCM has decided to confer the Minority Rights Day Award on Father Ajay Kumar Singh, a Catholic priest based in Kandhamal, on July 5, despite the Orissa government’s warning that the move may have an “adverse impact” on the “communal harmony” in the district. “We have requested the commission to stop this award which is an insult to the tribal community in particular and the Hindu society in general,” he added.
Source: CSF




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