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Aid blow to Kandhamal churches

New Delhi, July 16: The Supreme Court today ruled that churches damaged during the Kandhamal riots in December 2007 were not entitled to any compensation as they get sufficient funds from foreign countries.

“You know Mr Gonzalves, most of the churches get funds from foreign governments. So it is not proper for you to ask for chairs in the church or church bells,” Justice H.L. Dattu, heading a three-judge bench, told Colin Gonzalves, who appeared for the riot victims.

Gonzalves had appealed that not only victims but many churches damaged during the riots were not awarded compensation.

The senior counsel argued that as the churches were damaged by rioters, the state, Odisha, should compensate.

On this, the bench said: “Those cases, we will ask you to go to civil courts. In cases of death, we will take care of the compensation.”

The bench also dismissed the counsel’s appeal that the families of those who died of diarrhoea, cholera and snakebites in relief camps should be given compensation.

“Please don’t make such pleas. You can’t ask anything. You can ask for the moon, not the sun. You have to be reasonable. The state of Odisha is also not that prosperous…,” Justice Dattu said, before adjourning the matter till July 23.