AgenciesPosted online: Oct 11, 2008 at 1810 hrs (Indian Express)
New Delhi, October 11: :Under attack over his handling of communal violence in Orissa, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday criticised the demand for imposition of President's rule in the state, dubbing it as 'totally unjustified and politically motivated', and ruled out parting ways with BJP.
"There have been violent incidents and communal clashes in other states as well. Why the Orissa Government should be targeted?" he shot back during an interview to Karan Thapar for theDevil's Advocateprogramme.
Refuting the charge that the BJD-BJP government was acting in complicity with VHP and Bajrang Dal, Patnaik said a number of persons arrested for the communal violence in the state belonged to these two groups.
"It is totally unjustified and politically motivated," the 62-year-old BJD leader said referring demand by Opposition parties for dismissal of his government. "My government is doing its best to bring the situation under control."
Claiming that action had been taken against the two right wing Hindu outfits for attacks on churches and Christians, he said, "every bone in my body is secular and I don't think any of those bones have been damaged".
He denied that the recent violence has dented his secular image and that minorities feel let down by him after Kandhamal.
"I feel I have not let down anyone in my state to whichever community they belong," he said, while condemning the incidents of communal violence there as 'horrible and shameful'.
Asked about parallels being drawn between him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the situation in Kandhamal and Gujarat communal violence, Patnaik commented 'that comparison cannot be made rationally by anyone.'
Patnaik described as 'inaccurate' the charges that he had not handled the situation properly and effectively and acted as a puppet in the hands of saffron outfits.
The Chief Minister said the state government tried to deal with the situation sternly and also 'acted with sympathy as far as victims are concerned'.
"Crime Branch has begun inquiry into the violence that began from August 23 and judicial enquiry has also been ordered," he said.
In a clear hint that BJD-BJP alliance would continue in the state owing to the 'mathematics of seat sharing,' Patnaik said the 'alliance is there for more than ten years. We have won parliamentary, assembly, panchayats and municipal elections. We are sanguine with our victories.'
Patnaik also denied that the state police suppressed the letters left by the Naxals at the site where the VHP leader Laxmananda Saraswati was killed, losing to a communal flare-up.
"Why should the police suppress the letter. Three persons have been arrested for killing the Swami and they will get to the truth," he said.
Patnaik also rejected the allegation that the state government acted much later and only when pressure mounted on him. "Actions were taken from the very beginning of the violence," he said and blamed the inhospitable terrain of the region for the delay in containing violence against the minorities in Kandhamal and adjacent areas.
Terming the rape of a nun during the violence as 'shameful and barbaric crime' Patnaik claimed, "the moment we came to know about it the inspector in charge of the area was suspended."
Patnaik denied claims that he did not take action in the rape case even after the matter was brought to his notice by the Archbishop of Cuttack, CPM leader Brinda Karat and Head of the Missionaries of Charity Sister Nirmala.
"Archbishop did not meet or spoke to me after violence broke out in Kandhamal. Brin