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Hindu extremist arrested: new hope in Orissa?

June 15, 2010

Police in India’s state of Orissa have arrested a Hindu extremist who was one of the men accused of raping a Catholic nun during a burst of violence in August 2008.

The arrest of Pandit Bishimajhi, who had eluded capture for over 18 months, awakened hopes that officials in Orissa—a state governed by the Hindu-nationalist BJP party—may finally be taking serious steps against violent extremists.

“If people have faith in the justice system, a process of reconciliation” can begin in Orissa, said Father Ajaya Singh, a spokesman for the Cuttar-Bhubaneswar archdiocese.

Bishimajhi had been a prominent member of the BJP party before he was charged with a series of violent acts during the wave of anti-Christian violence in 2008. “He organized heinous crimes,” Father Singh charged.

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