A day after he defended India's secular credentials when the EU expressed concern at attacks on Christians, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday condemned the renewed bout of violence in Orissa and advised the state government to ensure law and order.
"The prime minister has advised the state government of Orissa to maintain utmost vigil and ensure law and order and protection of life and property of all citizens," a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
"He has condemned the renewed violence in the state and has appealed to the people to maintain peace and harmony," the statement added.
Last week, one person was killed and several injured in fresh clashes in Orissa between Hindus and Christians, which are triggered by a row over religious conversions. The state has witnessed communal clashes and attacks on Christian shrines in recent weeks.
During their discussions with Manmohan Singh at the 9th India-EU summit in Marseille Monday, leaders of the 27-nation European Union had expressed "strong concerns" over what they called massacres of Christians in India.
In response, Manmohan Singh had defended India's secular credentials and underlined that these sporadic attacks did not detract from the country's multi-religious and multi-cultural ethos.
Manmohan Singh also reminded EU leaders that he had already condemned these incidents as "acts of national shame".