Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Communalism Caste

Kandhamal Anti-Christian Violence: 10 years on, guilty still escape justice

SabrangIndia Staff 24 Aug 2018

Today is the tenth anniversary commemoration of the Kandhamal anti-Christian communal violence. Ten years ago, this violence started in Kadhamal district and continued for two months.


The perpetrators were, in large part, allegedly, cadres of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Today, many people have come back to the district. However, there are still some families who have not yet come back home.

They live in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and other parts of Odisha. There are still families who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in a rehabilitation colony, Shanti Nagar, near G Udayagiri in Kandhamal.

The victims of this violence had filed 3232 criminal cases against 11,000 perpetrators. But the police only registered 827 cases. Out of those cases the police closed 315 cases siting those as ‘lack of evidence’. Out of rest of 362 cases convictions were secured in only 78 cases! Out of 30 murder cases, conviction happened only in two cases.

The Supreme Court had instructed the government of Odisha to reopen those 315 cases in 2016. But nothing has been done in local courts. Will the guilty ever be punished?

This documentary on Kandhamal titled Innocents Imprisoned: Kandhamal’s Travesty of Justice was released in New Delhi on August 23, 2018 – to mark the 10th anniversary of the Kandhamal carnage:
 


Communalism Combat 2008-2018
In sustained and well planned attacks, Christians and Christian institutions and religious places were attacked by members and office bearers of various wings of Hindu supremacist and racist organisations (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-RSS/Vishwa Hindu Parishad-VHP, Bajrang Dal-BD) and Bharaitiya Janata Party -BJP) on the eve of Christmas 2007, forcing poor Dalit and Tribal Christians to flee to forests. In February of the next year, extremist left organisations wrote communications that the state intelligence bureau accessed declaring their intent via-a-vis the Hindu rightwing organisations. From August 24, 2008 onwards after Swami Lakshmananda was killed in an attack on his ashram, a bloody and vengeful funeral procession covering 220 kilometres was organised and allowed by the state administration, taking his body in a motor cavalcade, in which Praveen Togadia, international General Secretary of the VHP and BJP ministers from the state cabinet participated.

"Before the mob came we heard the sound of people approaching. The sound of hatred. Our lives, our faith, our existence is under attack and neither the neighbours, the police nor the state care." – Dalit Christian woman in Kandhamal

The hate-filled speeches inspired bloody mobs to attack and kill 59 persons (list of victims can be accessed at www.cjp.org,in ) and attack dozens of hamlets and villages on the way. Brutal rapes were also part of the sub-text.; 50,000 were rendered refugees in their own land, 15,000 are still internally displaced.

Like clockwork around the same time, in the southern state of Karnataka where the saffron flag had flown on the state’s assembly for the first time in the previously held elections, 57 Churches were attacked systematically in Mangalore, Udipi and other parts of the state. The attacks, thoroughly documented by Justice Saldanha in his report, on an Inquiry requested by Transparency International and PUCL, Karnataka, presents a dangerous tale of how the highest echelons of those in power, assisted by some communally minded policemen, not only allowed mobs to attack Christians at prayer and desecrated their places of worship, but worse also systematically destroy any evidence of the attack as soon as they had taken place.

Independent media were also made targets and other sections, wooed through monetary considerations by the state government, were complicit or silent. Action against the perpetrators has not taken place with the state government in a malafide action simply withdrawing all criminal cases against the RSS, VHP, BD and BJP. The officially appointed Justice BK Somasekhara Commission that released its report in January 2011, has been an eye-wash.

You can watch a film on the Kandhamal carnage here:
 

Kandhamal Anti-Christian Violence: 10 years on, guilty still escape justice

Today is the tenth anniversary commemoration of the Kandhamal anti-Christian communal violence. Ten years ago, this violence started in Kadhamal district and continued for two months.


The perpetrators were, in large part, allegedly, cadres of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP). Today, many people have come back to the district. However, there are still some families who have not yet come back home.

They live in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and other parts of Odisha. There are still families who are internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in a rehabilitation colony, Shanti Nagar, near G Udayagiri in Kandhamal.

The victims of this violence had filed 3232 criminal cases against 11,000 perpetrators. But the police only registered 827 cases. Out of those cases the police closed 315 cases siting those as ‘lack of evidence’. Out of rest of 362 cases convictions were secured in only 78 cases! Out of 30 murder cases, conviction happened only in two cases.

The Supreme Court had instructed the government of Odisha to reopen those 315 cases in 2016. But nothing has been done in local courts. Will the guilty ever be punished?

This documentary on Kandhamal titled Innocents Imprisoned: Kandhamal’s Travesty of Justice was released in New Delhi on August 23, 2018 – to mark the 10th anniversary of the Kandhamal carnage:
 


Communalism Combat 2008-2018
In sustained and well planned attacks, Christians and Christian institutions and religious places were attacked by members and office bearers of various wings of Hindu supremacist and racist organisations (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-RSS/Vishwa Hindu Parishad-VHP, Bajrang Dal-BD) and Bharaitiya Janata Party -BJP) on the eve of Christmas 2007, forcing poor Dalit and Tribal Christians to flee to forests. In February of the next year, extremist left organisations wrote communications that the state intelligence bureau accessed declaring their intent via-a-vis the Hindu rightwing organisations. From August 24, 2008 onwards after Swami Lakshmananda was killed in an attack on his ashram, a bloody and vengeful funeral procession covering 220 kilometres was organised and allowed by the state administration, taking his body in a motor cavalcade, in which Praveen Togadia, international General Secretary of the VHP and BJP ministers from the state cabinet participated.

"Before the mob came we heard the sound of people approaching. The sound of hatred. Our lives, our faith, our existence is under attack and neither the neighbours, the police nor the state care." – Dalit Christian woman in Kandhamal

The hate-filled speeches inspired bloody mobs to attack and kill 59 persons (list of victims can be accessed at www.cjp.org,in ) and attack dozens of hamlets and villages on the way. Brutal rapes were also part of the sub-text.; 50,000 were rendered refugees in their own land, 15,000 are still internally displaced.

Like clockwork around the same time, in the southern state of Karnataka where the saffron flag had flown on the state’s assembly for the first time in the previously held elections, 57 Churches were attacked systematically in Mangalore, Udipi and other parts of the state. The attacks, thoroughly documented by Justice Saldanha in his report, on an Inquiry requested by Transparency International and PUCL, Karnataka, presents a dangerous tale of how the highest echelons of those in power, assisted by some communally minded policemen, not only allowed mobs to attack Christians at prayer and desecrated their places of worship, but worse also systematically destroy any evidence of the attack as soon as they had taken place.

Independent media were also made targets and other sections, wooed through monetary considerations by the state government, were complicit or silent. Action against the perpetrators has not taken place with the state government in a malafide action simply withdrawing all criminal cases against the RSS, VHP, BD and BJP. The officially appointed Justice BK Somasekhara Commission that released its report in January 2011, has been an eye-wash.

You can watch a film on the Kandhamal carnage here:
 

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

Dalit Bahujan Adivasi

Why are Adivasis protesting against power projects in Ajodhya Hills?

Adivasis and local residents, opposed to the newly proposed hydel power project in the remote Ajodhya Hills in West Bengal, are heightening their prolonged protests against these projects. Watch this sabrangindia exclusive to hear what Adivasi Activists, local residents, forest dwellers and environmentalists have to say.

Dalit Bahujan Adivasi

Why are Adivasis protesting against power projects in Ajodhya Hills?

Adivasis and local residents, opposed to the newly proposed hydel power project in the remote Ajodhya Hills in West Bengal, are heightening their prolonged protests against these projects. Watch this sabrangindia exclusive to hear what Adivasi Activists, local residents, forest dwellers and environmentalists have to say.

IN FACT

Analysis

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Archives