Christians live in fear as VHP plans jubilee in Kandhamal

March 2, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Kandhamal riotsBhubaneswar, February 23, 2015: Christians in Kandhamal live fearing further violence in the district as Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has chosen to celebrate the golden jubilee of its foundation in the tribal dominated region, the center of the 2008 anti-Christian violence.

“There is fear and insecurity not just in Kandhamal, but around the districts too as VHP posters call for Hindu unity,” said Father Ajay Singh, a human rights activist in Orissa.

The priest, who won the Minority Rights Day Award of National Minorities Commission in 2003, said firebrand VHP leader Praveen Tagodia is scheduled to visit Kandhamal on Feb. 28 for the jubilee.

History shows that violence followed such events. Two years prior to 2008 attacks on Christians, Hindu hardliners chose Kandhamal as the place to celebrate centenary birthday of M.S Golwalker in April 2006. RSS leaders like K. S Sudershan, Ashok Singhal and others presided over it.

In December 2007, a major violence against Christians took place in which 5 people killed, 40 churches, several institution and nearly 900 houses destroyed, Father Singh said.

The following year Tagodia and Indresh Kumar went to attend the funeral Swami Laxmanand and instigated people. The violence that followed mobs of radical Hindus murdered nearly 100 people, torched more 5,500 houses and raped several women besides destroying 395 churches spreading in 14 districts of Odisha.

“Once Supreme Court had barred” Togadia from entering the state. But this time, he is leading the celebrations of VHP and they have again chosen to Kandhamal,” the priest said adding that Christians are living in fear of violence.

He said Christian leaders are looking forward to the government as well as civil society to address their concerns and protect Christians.

– ucan

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