“I AM sorry...,” Home Minister P Chidambaram on Friday told Kandhamal riot victims at a relief camp Phulbani.
Chidambaram, on a two-day visit to Orissa, met the victims living in relief camps set up after a series of communal clashes rocked the state in August last. The killing of 85-year-old Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati triggered the riots.
“I’m sorry that certain things happened last year and you have been brought to these camps. But you must go back to your villages. I am here to tell you, don’t fear,” he said.
“Whatever happened was wrong. Build your churches and practice your dharma.”
When some voiced fear of the RSS and Bajrang Dal, the minister said those responsible for the violence will be punished.
The Home Minister visited Mandaika, Rahikola, Tinigia and Tikabali camps in the district. Around 1,500 people are living in these camps.
He also met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and discussed the security situation in Naxal-affected areas.
To the demand for more central forces, he said, “The primary responsibility must be taken by the state government to fight the Naxals.”