WHY IT ALL STARTED?
The conflict at Kandhamal was basically related to land alienation to the non tribals, particularly to the Pano(Dalit) community.
The state already had a law banning transfer of tribal land to non tribals, but the act strengthened the clauses on protection of their land. This created a rift between the Kandha and the Panos and led to the 1998 communal conflicts.
It was during 1990’s that the Christian fundamentalist evangelical groups and Hindu fundamentalists led by Swami Laxmananda tried to convert people of the district into their own religion.
Around 1996, the Pano’s demanded SC status and a higher social status.
It was easy to counter this demand by giving it a communal dimension. As a result, what was the related Kandha-Pano tension came to be percieved as a Hindu-Christian conflict. The demand of Pano’s which was a threat to the tribals, was given a religious dimension and had become another “board game” for the politicians and fundamentalists.
Lets have a look at some facts here:
In 1999, one Catholic priest from Mayurbhanj- Arul Das was murdered; During 2004 Raika Catholic church was smashed up;In 1961, the Christian missionaries started their work and converted almost all the people. In 1961, the Christian population was 19, 128 and in 2001 it was 1,17,757(to be precise). This provoked Swami Laxmananda and the VHP.In 2005 while converting 200 tribal Christians to Hinduism at Malkangiri, Swami Laxmananda Saraswati roared, “How will we….. make India a completely Hindu country? This is our aim and this is what we want to do”. On 24th December 2007, a structure set up to hold Christmas celebrations in Brahamanigaon was attacked and destroyed. The provocation was nothing more than the pandal encroaching the main road of the town. In the late 60’s VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati set up an Ashram in Chakapad and they have been running Anti-Christian campaign in Kandhamal since then. The most recent incident which occurred was the killing of the Hindu fundamentalist, Swami Laxmanada Saraswati and three of his disciples, who was one of the founders of the Anti- Christian campaigns, and was also supposed to be involved in conversions of many to Hinduism.
Sangh Parivar’s allegation: The sangh parivar has been holding allegations that Christian missionaries have used allurements and incentives to convert the mostly poor and backward population.
The clashes between the Kandha and Pano has been taking place for a long time, even before the advent of VHP and Sangh Parivar. To cite an example, such a vociferous riot took place for about 3 months and 20 tribals were reportedly killed. Only then did VHP and Sangh Parivar start their work.
In a multi-religious country like India, we can’t exist, or fight against anything, until all communities and religions are taken into consideration and given due respect. It is our duty to do so, and until and unless, instead of conversion of religions, we convert our anti-national thoughts against other religions we can’t strive to be a better nation, be it in any way.
YOUTH KI AWAAZ: Our country is the only country in the world with so many communities united (well, few people are still united) together and co-existing on the same hand. Harping on a particular community has been our country’s political jargon. The mob mind can be easily manipulated with, and the politicians very well know how to manoeuvre the young mind for their selfish gains.
Why is it that we are justifying the whole scenario? Is it because religious chauvinism is now subduing the TRUE INDIAN SECULAR SPIRIT? Is it that we are weak enough to give in to the religious extremists’ stridently hawkish aims and mentality? Why don’t we realize that an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is not the right solution to such crises. By justifying the perpetrators, we are just wronging ourselves. We need to introspect within ourselves, that by hurting the secular fabric, are we not hurting the true spirit of the constitution. We need to realize that our country is suffering a very serious communal crisis, and the gravity of the matter should not be vaporized by just justifying the religious vendetta.
It is very unfortunate that the hypocrite pseudo-secular government has not yet dealt with the culprits with an iron hand but just indulged in a blame game with the state government which is equally responsible for the worsened crisis.
We, the youth of india, should shoulder the responsibilty, of being seculars, and stem religious chauvinism and to not let this extremism subvert the spirit of the constitution and promote brotherhood,unity and love. We cannot compromise on our patriotism for the sake of religion and no religion preaches hate.
Moreover, those still justifying the arson on the christian community, should think again, doesn’t our religion preach ahimsa. If even the religion strictly prohibits such acts,isn’t this a paradox that these self-proclaimed sons of the soil and champions of the religion are hurting the most fundamental virtue of religion im their way.
We need to introspect, what we are leaving behind, and what we are heading for? A welfare state? Certainly not. Not this way atleast!
Visitors frequent similar articles, they read, they write, listen and move on thinking that they are contributing towards making a change. Well let me tell you all, the above has to be accompanied with action. Not individual, but group action.
What you can do is spread the word, create a awareness. Tell others to spread it further, join our discussion forum on Kandhamal violence. Post your comments.