The Centre on Wednesday said last year's anti-Christian violence in the Kandhamal district of Orissa was a "blot on the face" of the state.
Replying to questions in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister P Chidambaram said a large number of people were displaced in Kandhamal. "800 to 900 displaced people are still in camps."
"Kandhamal was a blot on the very face of Orissa. It is shame that minorities were targeted," he said, drawing protests from opposition BJP benches.
Before the Home Minister made the remarks, Rudra Narayan Pany (BJP) alleged that Christian missionaries had an unholy alliance with Naxalites and referred to the killing of Swami Laxamananda Saraswati in August last year.
Chidambaram said the state government made some arrests and pointed out that one of them has taken oath as MLA in Orissa. "He is an accused," he said.
The Home Minister made light of Pany's comments that Orissa government was "inefficient" saying "it is interesting to note that when friends fall out, a lot of skeletons tumble out. I thank you for your kind words for Orissa government."
BJP and BJD, to which the Chief Minister belongs, were coalition partners in Orissa for over a decade and parted ways before the Lok Sabha and simultaneously held assembly polls.