The author of a book on the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal titled `Kandhamal a Blot on Indian Secularism’ has deflated the claim that the Kandhamal carnage and mayhem were `spontaneous’ Hindu reaction to the assassination of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati. The book was released by veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar in the presence of Swami Agnivesh and professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy of Jawaharlal Nehru University at the Constitution Club in New Delhi on April 8.
With graphic reproduction of the zig-zag route of the funeral procession taken out in defiance of curfew, the author of the book Anto Akkara said the procession taken along even un-motorable roads was “a ploy to whip up communal passions and execute the anti-Christian agenda that had been chalked out much earlier and put to test on a limited scale during Christmas 2007.”
“The procession moved like an oyster along zigzag and rugged paths covering nearly 250 kms over two days instead of half the distance it should have taken along main roads and should have been completed in few hours,” pointed out Akkara, a freelance journalist presently based in Bangalore.
Three fourth of the houses destroyed (over 5000 according Christian survey and 3900 according to the government) were in Raikia, Tikabali, G Udaigiri and Nuagam blocks that should not have been in the funeral procession route if the shortest route had been followed. As the administration remained mute spectators to pounding of Christian targets in Kandhamal by bigots, more than 75 Christians have been killed, 5000 Christian houses looted, damaged and burnt along with 250 churches and Christian institutions. The author further pointed out that the Supreme Court itself has confirmed that the orchestrated violence has rendered more than 50 000 Christians refugees in Kandhamal.
Even seven months after the Kandhamal carnage, only 633 have been arrested despite 11348 being named in 784 FIRs charged with serious offences like murder and rioting despite Orissa government assuring the Supreme Court in October that “The main accused persons involved in commission or instigation of violence have been arrested irrespective of their religious or political affiliations. Raids are constantly being conducted to arrest the remaining accused persons.” Such police inaction and immunity, he pointed out, “raises serious questions about the secular credentials of the nation that prides itself in the fundamental freedom of faith and equality before law under Indian constitution.”
The book also flayed the government for trying to hide the actual number of those killed. While the Orissa government has acknowledged only 32 riot-related killings, he said an affidavit with names of 75 killed has been already submitted to the Supreme Court by the Christians. Besides denying the two-lakh compensation from the state and three lakhs from the central government, the author with LLB from Delhi University pointed out that this would also ensure that the culprits will not be touched as the government cannot prosecute the accused as long as the murder is not acknowledged by the state.
Threats, intimidation and social boycott to force the returning Christians forsake their faith is continuing unabated in many villages in Kandhamal while scores of reluctant refugees had been dumped back near their villages by the government officials in their eagerness to shut down the relief camps, pointed out the author who has made half a dozen arduous investigative visits to Kandhamal.