Tag Archives: Orissa Christians

Kandhamal victims move NHRC, demand Task Force for compensation, rehabilitation, development

NEW DELHI, 13 September 2012 —  The victims of the anti Christian violence in Kandhamal in December 2007 and August-October 2008 have asked the National human Rights Commission to direct the State government to set up a Task Force which will ensure comprehensive compensation, rehabilitation, education and employment  for the people.

Initiative for Justice, peace and Human Rights secretary Advocate Fr Dibya Parichha and Dr John Dayal, Member of the National Integration Council and Secretary General, All India Christian Council, met NHRC chairman Justice K G Balakrishnan and National Minorities Commission Mr Wajahat Habibullah in New Delhi and submitted a detailed memorandum listing the shortcomings in compensation, rehabilitation, employment and justice delivery.

They pointed out that four years after the violence, the victims suffer from miscarriage of justice, inadequate compensation and almost no regard to rehabilitation and employment. Even the Central government’s Mahatma Gandhi NREGA is not properly implemented for the Christian poor. Children are the worst victim – official apathy and continuing poverty of their parents as the main reason.

An inclusive Task Force was therefore required for comprehensive action to help the victims who are yet to get out of the trauma of the violence.  It may be recalled that over 5,000 victims had staged a demonstration in the district capital Phulbani on 25 August to voice their protest at the state of affairs.

The memorandum pointed out the district administration’s  perfidy even in the matter of counting the dead.  There were outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, and malaria in the relief camps. As many as 27 persons, mostly aged or very young died because of this or of injuries sustained in the attacks. Their names are not included in the official list of deaths for compensation. Similarly  5 persons who were maimed by the attackers have also not got relief.

Widows are also in distress. 27 widows and many more whose husbands’ murders have not been recorded by the police and the administration and their aged parents are in dire need of assistance such as pension and employment.

The survey list of Orissa Government for compensation for homes damaged during the communal violence 2008 is not accurate. Hundreds of families who lost their homes were not registered. The compensation of Rs. 50, 000/- for fully damaged homes and Rs. 25, 000/- for partially damaged homes is far below the actual loss and damaged suffered and inadequate for rebuilding the structure. The compensation granted by the state towards rebuilding 230 churches and prayer halls is grossly inadequate.

Similarly, as many as 11 public institution and NGOs which were looted and destroyed during the violence by the Mob are not considered for compensation by the State Government despite the fact that Criminal complaints were registered and representations submitted to the administration for compensation. The list of 11 institutions with details is given in Annexure- 7, p. 57

Another serious issue is of the rehabilitation of Christians involved in small businesses which were totally destroyed in targeted violence. On the other hand, of the 101 shop-owners, 11 have been served notice of recovery by the banks under PMRY loan scheme (Prime Minister’s Rozagar Yozna).

It is estimated that approximately 10,000 victims are still living outside their respective villages in other districts of Orissa and migrated to states like Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat etc. unable to return due to threat to lives, social and economic boycott, conditions to withdraw criminal complaints and convert to Hinduism and forcible conversion. The total number of people requires official verification

A survey by the internationally reputed “HAQ: Centre for Child Rights”, in Kandhamal during 2010-2011 revealed the nature of the severe impact of the violence on education of the affected Dalit and Tribal children. All children lost an academic year.  Those in secondary school missed the Board Examinations and many dropped out of school as they were unable to pay the fees. Hundreds of children left Kandhamal for other states like Gujarat, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh looking for work. Some were trafficked. Government has not taken any action so far.

[For more details, Please Contact Fr Dibya or Dr John Dayal 9811021072]

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5,000 Kandhamal Victims Gather To Demand Justice

KANDHAMAL, 31 August, (Dan Wooding)– Around 5,000 victims and survivors of the 2008 communal violence in Kandhamal district, Orissa, attended a public rally yesterday to mark the fourth anniversary of the violence and call for justice, peace and harmony. Local authorities only granted permission on the evening before the rally, and organizers claimed they had deliberately obstructed it for as long as possible.

According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), Bishop Sarat Nayak, Catholic Bishop of Berhampur, addressed the rally, saying, “Peace can come only when there is truth and justice.”

The Christians, some of whom covered their mouths with black ribbons, displayed banners with slogans including, “We want justice, justice, justice,” “Stop politics in the name of religion,” and “We demand brotherhood in Kandhamal.”

The rally also included a song written by Sharada Charan, a survivor of the violence, which captured some of the collective sentiment of the victims. The lyrics are translated as, “We are the people of Kandhamal / We are searching for our lost friends / We lived blinded by unfaith / We forgot love and affection in the shadow of discrimination / There are only sorrowful tears / Smiles of happiness have faded / the sons of the land are leaving / They are thrown away on the road of progress / So let’s forget the past and move forward / Singing songs of love.”

Fr. Ajay Singh, an Orissa-based human rights activist involved in facilitating the Kandhamal rally, said, “This rally was to pay homage to the dead, and to call for justice, security and livelihood for the victims. It was to draw the attention of the government and other stakeholders to these needs, and to encourage the victims and build up solidarity among them.”

“Despite the government giving permission only at the very last moment, the people came from far-flung, remote areas serviced with little public transport, braving the rain and possible threats and intimidation from the Sangh Parivar [extremist Hindu nationalist organisations] and government officials,” said a CSW spokesperson.

“That indicates their thirst for justice, which you could see written on their faces, and when they left, they had a feeling that justice would be done sooner or later. We need to see progress towards that.”

CSW said that also on August 30, the Himachal Pradesh High Court delivered a judgment in a case challenging the anti-conversion law in the state, striking down two provisions but holding the other aspects of the law to be constitutional. The court ruled against section 4 of the law, which makes it mandatory for a person seeking to convert to give prior notice to the district administration (except in the case of those re-converting to their earlier religion, which typically refers to a conversion to Hinduism), and rules 3 and 5, which mandate the state to inquire into every conversion. The Evangelical Fellowship of India, a principal petitioner in the case, welcomed the striking down of two clauses but said it was “regrettable” that the rest of the law was upheld, and noted that this “inadvertently played into the hands of communal forces.”

David Griffiths, South Asia Team Leader for CSW, said, “As Bishop Sarat noted at the Kandhamal rally, justice is a prerequisite for peace. It is important to remember that the 2008 violence in Orissa came only eight months after an earlier wave of violence, for which there was mass impunity. With extremists still perpetuating communal tensions and the victims remaining deeply disenfranchised, the only way to guard against further violence and to promote true peace is to secure justice. That is why the cry of the victims must be heard.

“In Himachal Pradesh, the ruling striking down two aspects of the anti-conversion law was welcome, but it is disappointing that the other provisions of the law were upheld. The very concept of anti-conversion laws has been strongly criticized both by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief and during India’s recent Universal Periodic Review at the UN, and we fully concur with the view that these laws are in violation of India’s obligations under international law.”

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is a Christian organisation working for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, in the pursuit of justice.

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Indian Christian Martyrs Day Celebrations on 26th August

BHOPAL, (Anand Muttungal) We would like to bring to your kind attention that the Isai Mahasagh (Madhya Pradesh) had initiated a programme four years back to remember the yeomen sacrifice made by our Christian brethren all over India. St. Thomas, the Apostle of India is the first martyr of India, from then on there are many Christians who sacrificed their lives for the sake of faith.

We keep remembering them but the greatest sacrifice made by the Christians of Odisha, particularly the believers of Khandmal district is ever to be remembered. The number of people embraced death for the sake of faith is over fifty, so we decided to commemorate this event on the last Sunday of August. It is in the month of August 2008 most number of believers faced death and suffering. Every Sunday Christians gather all over the world for prayer so it will be fitting to remember and pray for those Christians.

We must also remember those Christians who are living like a monument of faith facing all the sufferings. It is the case of Christians in different some parts of this Country. So the Indian Christian martyrs day is not just to remember and pray for the believers who embraced death but also those Christians who are facing suffering and threat due to their faith in Lord Jesus Christ.

We can remember all those believers from the time of St. Thomas till date. We can offer Holy Eucharist for them or special services also can be organized for them. We also request you all to organize blood donation camps to remember sacrifice of the Christian martyrs. We want to send a message to people that the blood of Christian believers can give life to many. We, the Isai Mahasangh members will be organizing special prayer services for the Indian Christian Martyrs in Madhya Pradesh.

We believe that each person forwarding this appeal and encouraging peoples and organizations to pray for the Indian Christian Martyrs are joining the suffering Christian believers in India and you are becoming part of a chain of network that pray for Christians. We appeal to Churches and organizations to partake in this initiative. So kindly forward this E- mail to all Christians.

Fr. Anand Muttungal, Chief Coordinator
Sujit William , President
Jerry Paul, General Secretary
Isai Mahasangh, Madhya Pradesh

Head Office
Isai Mahasangh
38-Patrakar Colony
Link Road No.3, Bhopal-462003, M.P

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