Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, Wednesday, August 27, 2008
We are deeply shocked by the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswathi and others. We strongly condemn this dastardly act of taking life and law into ones own hands and the violence surrounding this. Violence of any kind is never justifiable and only serves to protract the suffering and misery of common people.
World Vision India and its staff have been falsely accused of being party to these the incidents and the following statement is being issued by World Vision India to state the facts of our position;
-- The allegations by Mr. Ram Madhav, spokesperson for the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) who appeared on ‘Face the Nation’ on CNN-IBN at 10 pm on 26 August, 2008 are totally false and baseless. World Vision or their staffs is not a party to or participants in the recent violence in Kandhamal district.
-- Here are the facts of the situation;
- Two of our staff from the Daringbadi programme were apprehended by a mob on the night of the 23rd August, 2008 when they were on their way to Bhubaneshwar attempting to get out of the area in fear for their lives, as there were rumours of impending violence as in December 2007.
- The police who were patrolling in the area rescued them. In due course, the police verified their identity and purposes with due diligence, before they let them go.
-- The above situation has been deliberately twisted and rumours are being spread that these people were apprehended while escaping the scene of the murder. This has been reported in some media and Mr. Ram Madhav made this allegation without a shred of evidence or proof. It is a lie.
World Vision India has been serving the poor in India over the last five decades through relief and development programmes in close cooperation with communities, the government and other NGOs. In Orissa, World Vision has been working in seven districts. As relief and development agency World Vision works closely with several non-governmental organisations, other aid agencies, global institutions and specialised agencies of the United Nations. Our aid workers work closely with the government, NGOs and the community on education, economic development and health. Wherever, World Vision has been involved we have taken special effort to build local capacities for peace building and communal harmony.
World Vision does not engage in proselytising or using aid and development to tamper with people’s faith. World Vision policy expressly prohibits this. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, caste, race, ethnicity or gender.
We call for everyone concerned, especially the elected leaders of our country and leaders of civil society to come together and seek peace and restore normalcy as quickly as possible. Divisive rumouring does not contribute to healing our land and is not in the best interest of the poor of our country.
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