Skip to main content

Odisha saffron outfit "blocks" Christmas celebrations in Kandhamal district, known for communal tensions

By Our Representative
Notorious for communal violence, Kandhamal district of Odisha once again saw tension following saffron outfits’ alleged threat to Christians not to celebrate Christmas. Ajaya Kumar Singh, a well-known social activist working in the area, reports that roads to several villages were “blocked” by felling trees and putting huge rocks so that the police force could not reach the place where they were “rampaging.”
According to Singh, “The worst affected place was Barkhama village of Balliguda block. Barkhama is 13 kilometres away from Sub-divisional headquarters, Balliguda.” He adds, Christians got “panicked” with the news of road blockade as well as the gathering of more than a thousand members of the Kui Samaj Samanwaya Samity (KSSS) and its supporters.
“The terror-stricken Christian leaders informed the police personnel as well as special forces deputed for Christmas celebration. They cleared the road but did not allow the Christians to go to Churches to celebrate Christmas”, Singh reports.
Pointing out that Barkhama was not an isolated incident, Singh says, “A bandh (strike) was called in several parts in the district on Christmas day to disrupt the celebrations. Shopkeepers downed shutters and buses stayed off the roads in several towns such as Tikabali, Sankarakhol, Sarangada and Barkhama. The Christians of farflung areas could not go to Church as the buses did not ply on the roads. This affected these poor Adivasi/Dalit Christians as they don’t have private vehicles.”
KSSS, according to Singh, is the same outfit which called for a bandh during Christmas in 2007 which triggered the anti-Christian violence in the district of August 2008”, which happened to be “the worst communal violence against Christian community in India in over 300 years.”
Singh recalls, in the 2008 violence led to the death of over 90 Christians, with dozens of people missing and never to be located again. “The violence lasted for four months. Over 350 churches and worship places which belonged to the Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians were destroyed, around 6,500 houses were burnt or demolished, over 40 women were subjected to rape, molestation and humiliation and several educational, social service and health institutions were destroyed and looted. More than 56,000 people were displaced."
He adds, "Several cases of forced conversion to Hinduism by the Hindutva forces took place during the violence. One nun was gang raped in front of a crowd of over 300 people, while 8 policemen looked on. This nun ran towards the policemen asking for help but they did nothing and stood there simply watching the spectacle. It all happened just a stone’s throw away from Nuagaon police station”.
Accusing the outfit for calling the bandh to create apprehension and fear among Christian community in Kandhamal, Singh says, “Earlier, people Kandhamal could get hints that KSSS is a BJP/RSSS supported organisation, its leaders used to deny the allegation. Now, its leaders have joined the BJP.”
Meanwhile, Singh says, the Christians of Barkhama village have sent a petition to Odisha Chief Ministter Naveen Pattnaik, to give them protection and ensure peaceful coexistence.

Comments

TRENDING

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.