Kui outfit from Orissa seeks compensation like Christian tribals

NEW DELHI: Orissa's communal riot singed Kandhmal district, the focus of poll pundits who are eager to know how the tribals will vote, saw a fresh twist in Supreme Court on Monday with a Hindu tribal organisation seeking parity with Christians in terms of compensation.

The apex court, before which the state had promised to expedite relief and rehabilitation work, issued notice to the Naveen Patnaik government on an application filed by NGO `Kui Sanskrutik Parishad' through Padmanav Pradhan alleging discrimination in compensation.

The petitioner NGO said Kuis had not got adequate relief and rehabilitation despite being victims of the mob violence that torched villages in the aftermath of the killing of Swami Lakshmananand Saraswati in December 2007.

Christian religious leader Raphael Cheenath, who was the first to move SC seeking relief, rehabilitation and security for riot victims, complained through his counsel Colin Gonsalves that a sample survey on relief and rehabilitation aspect had revealed that many victims were yet to receive them while others got a part of their due.

Gonsalves said the court had ordered Rs 5 lakh compensation to relatives of those who were killed in the riots. He said the state pegged the toll at 32 when actually 93 persons were killed. The counsel also alleged that the Centre had not paid its share of Rs 3 lakh and the state was dilly dallying in giving its share of Rs 2 lakh.

Wondering whether payment of money at this stage would violate model code of conduct in force ahead of polls, the Bench asked the state to continue relief and rehabilitation measures. The state also undertook not to disband relief camps.