NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Odisha government to pay additional compensation to the victims of the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district in 2008.
A bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U Lalit said that the victims of the communal strife should be given additional compensation as the compensation given earlier was inadequate.
The verdict came on a petition filed by Archbishop Rachel Cheenath relating to violence in Kandhamal district and other areas of the state. The order will benefit families of those killed, the injured victims and whose houses were destroyed or damaged.
The bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice U U Lalit ruled that the compensation paid to the victims was not adequate and ordered additional amount to be paid.
The apex court delivered the judgment on a PIL by Archbishop Raphael Cheenath, seeking protection, compensation and rehabilitation.
However, contents of the judgement was not made public till late in the evening. The court also clarified that the enhanced compensation ordered today would be in addition to the payments already made.
In 2008, several districts including Kandhamal, a region in the western part of Odisha, witnessed horrific violence on the impoverished Christians residing in the district.
The area, were several reserves are loacted, have tribal populations who follow animism which is classified under Hinduism, and had seen increased conversions into chrisitanity. The violence was reportedly unleashed by Hindutva groups that killed more than 50 Christians, and damaged more than 1400 houses and over 80 churches.
The riots are said to have started when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Swami Laxamananda Saraswati was killed on August 23, 2008.