Margaret Alva to lead Kandhamal peace movement*

Bangalore: With all the angry public movements to restore peace and secularism in the country, a new movement will begin to resolve communal violence in Orissa. Former AICC general secretary Margaret Alva and Global Council of Indian Christians announced here on Tuesday (6th Jan) that they would launch an awareness campaign across the country to restore peace in Kandhmal and give the victims the compensation they deserve. The campaign will be held in the city on March 30, 31, and April 1 and 2.

Alva said she was free now of her political commitments and she could devote all her time to the cause. “Our voice has been discarded because the Christian community is peaceful. But it is time to fight back now. One is the displaced victims who have migrated are being asked to convert to Hinduism before returning to their homes. This should be addressed. They are Christians and should be allowed to practice their belief,” she said.
The other demand, she pointed out, was that most victims did not have land documents as they have been living in the interior tribal areas and are not being allowed to enter their homes because of this. She said the issue needs to be addressed by the central government.
Twelve widows from Kandhmal from different camps of G Udaygiri, Raikia, Tikabali, Sugodbadi etc were present to have a word with Alva. Kavita Naik, also a victim who works with widows for their rights, said the aid that was being given to the camp members was not adequate. Children were getting a packet of biscuits every week and elders were getting rations of only dal and rice. “I had severe diarrhoea once and they gave me paracetamol. Medical supply is out of place and children are falling sick every day,” she added.

I resigned on principles: Alva
Three months after she was forced to quit the AICC general secretary’s post over her allegations that assembly seats in Karnataka were sold during the May 2008 elections, Margaret Alva has no regrets about it.
“I resigned because people were not ready to accept the truth. If people think I have embarassed my party, I cannot help it,” Alva told reporters on the sidelines of a function here on Wednesday (7th Jan).
Alva said she had “trustworthy information” from Karnataka and acted on it.

“I resigned on principles,” she added.



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