Around 400 people remember Kandhamal, a “threat to democracy”

August 26, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Bhubaneswar, August 26, 2016: About 400 people took part in a memorial ceremony for the Christian victims of Kandhamal, Odisha state, massacred in 2008 by Hindu radicals for their faith.

The event was held at the IDCOL Auditorium in Bhubaneswar, the state capital, in the presence of students, activists, academics, and political leaders from the state’s Communist and Congress parties.

The memory of the violence that shook India and the world reminded everyone of alarming growth of caste discrimination, sectarianism and fundamentalism by Hindu radicals. All this, they agree, is a “serious threat to democracy in India”.

The National Solidarity Forum (NSF), a coalition of artists, writers, filmmakers, activists and human rights organisations, in collaboration with the Odisha Forum for Social Action (OFSA), organised yesterday’s meeting.

All the participants – Christian, Hindu, and Muslim – renewed their support for the families of victims of the unprecedented and ferocious persecution of India’s Christian minority ahead of the first ‘Martyrs Day’ on 30 August.

During the meeting, focus centred on the fact that those affected by this tragedy are still waiting for justice, whereas the perpetrators have never appeared before a judge.

“Most of those who were booked for direct involvement in the violence are either getting acquitted or out in bail for improper investigation. At the same time, some innocent people are still languishing in jail,” said NSF coordinator Dhirendra Panda,

Speakers stressed that violence against minorities and discrimination against poorer castes have increased since 2008. The reason is that “Religion has been used as a weapon to make feudalism stronger as evinced by communal riots in different parts of the country.

“In the name of nationalism, patriotism,” and “communalism, fascism is going on throughout India which is a serious threat to Indian Democracy. People who raise their voice against the present vote bank policy of fundamentalist forces are convicted of sedition.”

According to the participants, secularism is at risk, because democratic values ​​are under attack in the universities, in the bureaucracy, and in the judiciary. This is evident in still strong caste-based discrimination.

Although the caste system was abolished in the constitution, Dalits and Adivasis still suffer mistreatment and marginalisation.

Data show that profound social inequalities for the members of these two groups. About 90 per cent of Dalits and Adivasis living in villages are not allowed into temples. In school, 54 per cent of their children are separated from the rest during midday meals. About 80 per cent of Dalit and Adivasi communities live below the poverty line.

Speakers also noted that the subjugation of the defenseless and the poor helps the radical majority to rule indiscriminately.

For this reason, they want to see an end to ‘divide and rule” policies and a change in attitudes, away from the dominant “communal and corporate” forces.

– asianews

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One Response to “Around 400 people remember Kandhamal, a “threat to democracy””
  1. reetha says:

    The action taken by these groups is a sign that people of Khandamal can still hope for justice. They will feel that there are people who are at their side.

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