- 52 acquitted in Kandhamal riot cases
- Sangh Parivar is communalising civil rights, John Dayal
- Christian leaders fault Govet for not compensating riot
- victims in Orissa's Kandhamal
- BJP in Orissa demonstrate against Union Budget .
52 acquitted in Kandhamal riot cases …
PHULBANI (ORISSA): Fifty two people accused of being involved in the 2008 riot in Kandhamal, were on Saturday acquitted in seven cases involving house burning and church attack, due to lack of evidence.
The cases in this regard were disposed off at two fast track courts here. While Fast Track Court-I judge S K Das acquitted 17 persons, the judge of Fast Track Court-II C R Das acquitted 35 others. While two cases each were registered under Tikabali, Raikia and G Udaygiri police stations, one was reported from Baliguda police station.
The incidents took place in the aftermath of the killing of senior VHP leader Swami Laxmananda Saraswati on August 23, 2008. At least 38 people were killed and thousands of houses burnt and churches damaged during the violence.
Sangh Parivar is communalising civil rights, says John Dayal., secretary general, All India Christian Council
John Dayal, secretary general, All India Christian Council and Member, National Integration Council, has been a critic of Sangh Parivar. He has been fighting for the cause of the Dalit Christians for the past several years. Currently, Dayal is working 24/7 to bring out a While Paper on Orissa – 2008. In a detailed interaction with Sai Prasan, a senior journalist, John Dayal spoke on issues ranging from the Dalit Christian rights to the foreign funding of the RSS and VHP to pursue communal politics in Orissa. Excerpts:
Orissadiary.com: What will be the strategy of the Church in countering the violence unleashed by the Hindu fundamentalists on the Dalit Christians in Kandhamal? How Church will protect their life?
JD: As a peaceful people, we can do nothing but pray. But as citizens of India, there is much we can do, and have done. We have moved constitutional authorities in the political, administrative and judicial spheres, ranging from President of India, prime minister and chief minister to the High Court and the Supreme Court. We are hoping the government will provide enough CRPF forces to ensure peace in Kandhamal, and if necessary, will call in the Indian Army.
Orissadiary.com: There is a strong opinion that Christian organizations also do not want quick solution of the problem as they get foreign funds in the name of persecution?
JD: We want the violence against us to end as soon as possible so that the refugees can go home. We have a vested interest in peace. It is the Hindutva forces that thrive on tension and fear. The church does not get a penny from any source without the knowledge and permission of the government. The Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) ensures that. In fact, the RSS and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) get foreign funds from NRIs without any check. To be Continue ….
Christian leaders fault Government for not compensating riot victims in Kandhamal
Archbishop Cheenath call for full reconciliation in Kandhamal through justice, deep concern at slow pace of reconstruction and rehabilitation, Cynical authorities diverting issues from restoring human dignity of the 2008 anti–Christian violence survivors.
Archbishop Raphel Cheenath, the senior Church leader of Orissa said in a press conference here on Saturday that despite the claims of the state and district administrations, the human dignity, rights and life of the Christian victims of 2008 violence remained far from normal.
Fifteen months after they were uprooted, thousand still live in makeshift shanties along the road, and in the forests, with no seeming hope of rehabilitation, and harassed daily by Block and Panchayat officials and the Police. Hundreds of babies have been born in these conditions. " We want full reconciliation and lasting peace in Kandhamal which will be possible when justice is transparent , lives are rebuilt and people return to their own villages without fear. We do not want any ghettoisation in the district."
He faulted the attitude of the authorities on three more issues – criminal justice dispensation system in the Fast Track Courts which being subverted by terrorizing of witnesses and shoddy investigations., the utter inadequacy of government assistance in rebuilding houses , and the absence of genuine employment , livelihood and education schemes. It may be re called the present District Collector was very much on duty and present at the spot with the Dy. Inspector General and other top police officers when the violence started, and the mob attacked the Phulbani Church in the district head quarters.
The Church, which had received no assistance at all in rebuilding its own places of worship social development institutions, had extended great help, but the task was far too big for non government organisations.
It needs political will to implement special schemes by the government. We are willing to help to the best of our ability and resources," he assured the government. But he said, he would have no hesitation in again approaching the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court of India if the misery of the people was not ameliorated. They cannot be allowed to live through another summer and other monsoons without a shelter over their heads. The victims need sympathy but administration is raising all sorts of rules and regulations in the matter of relief and rehabilitation . Various human rights groups have warned of trafficking in young girls of the district.
Initially, 10 to 11,000 families were displaced from their homes by the violence. An estimated 1.200 families have migrated from the immediate area , many of them to Bhubaneswar or to other states. Over 6,000 refugees are living in the Saliasahi slums of Bhubaneswar, state capital and tens thousands are working as labour in Andhra and other states. Some as far as Kerala and Punjab. 200-300families continue to reside in private displacement camps in the district. At least 4,400 families continue to live in tents, makeshift shelters or the remnants of their damaged houses. The remainder of families have returned either to their villages or near their villages. The number who have received financial assistance from the government or the Church or NGOs is not known for certain , but is believe to be 1,100.
The Dalit Christians remain the worst suffers and have been denied employment, land and other entitlement. The schemes announced by the Chief Minister must embrace all communities. This is so even in the employment of Special Police Officers, SPOs .The district Collector has no hope to offer to the Dalits.
In the violence between 25th August and December 2008, as many as 5347 houses were looted and destroyed by fire, many women and girls were raped , and more than 75 people were murdered in the name of religion and ethnicity. Large scale displacement and migrations followed with over 54,000 people becoming refuges in their own motherland. The administration arbitrarily fixed Rs 50,000 people becoming refuges in they own motherland. The administration arbitrarily fixed rs 50,000 for fully destroyed houses, even though the reconstruction cost of even a simple was from Rs 85,000upwards. Similarly the administration arbitrarily designated fully destroyed houses as partial damaged category with much lower relief. Most houses are indeed fully damaged and we want the administration to give full compensation.
He said that the government should publish a whitepaper on the land issue, and urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to investigate into the role and functioning of the district administration.
The Archbishop denied the allegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party and other organisations that the European Union delegation which visited Kandhamal on Thursday and Friday had come to the State on his invitation.
BJP in Orissa demonstrate against Union Budget
Bhubaneswar (Orissa): The BJP Bhubaneswar District unit demonstrated against anti-poor budget by Union Government led by District President Amiy Kumar Das. At Ram Mandir Square, Bhubaneswar, there was a massive gathering of demonstrators displaying fastoons and flags. After shouting slogans against "anti-poor", "anti-people" and "inflationary budget" the irate party workers burnt the effigies of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Finance Minister Pranab Mukharjee and UPA Chairperson Smt. Sonia Gandhi.