Film highlights “helpless cry” of Kandhamal victims

July 20, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Thiruvananthapuram, July 20, 2016: Kandhamal and the horrific cycle of religious violence that the remote district of Odisha witnessed in 2008 is not an easy story not tell.

Though the numbers, of the dead, of the injured and of the displaced, do allow one to sift out the reality from the various conflicting narratives, there remains the question of how things came to play out like that at that point in time.

For a documentary about communal violence, K.P. Sasi’s “Voices from the Ruins,” screened at the Press Club on July 19, takes quite some time to arrive at the series of incidents that it focuses on. It takes you further back in time, to 1936, the year of formation of Odisha State.

It starts with the story of Madhusudhan Das, one of the key players in the formation of that eastern Indian state.

The documentary tells you that he was a religious convert, thus connecting it to the violence of 2008, for which the Hindutva forces cited conversion as a reason, The Hindu reported.

The violence is brought on screen through found footages and through recollections of the victims. In one of those old footages, the viewers get to see a mob going on a rampage at a church, even as police personnel in considerable numbers, stand by as mute witnesses.

The recollections of the victims from different parts of the district are similar, pointing at the organized nature of the violence.

Particularly disturbing are the stories of the gang rape of a nun and the killing of a man who wanted to pray before he was cut down to pieces.

The third act focuses on the conversion debate and delivers a critique on the Odisha’s anti-conversion law, which goes against the tenets of Constitution.

It busts the myth of forced conversions, with the converted Dalits and adivasis themselves speaking out their reasons on the camera. Dignity remained top on the list of reasons.

“I started working on this documentary in 2009. I have visited the affected areas quite a number of times and making this film has been a draining process,” says Sasi.

Communist Party of India (CPI-M) leader V.S. Achuthanandan, who opened the screening, said that the documentary was the helpless cry of those who had been victims of continued violence of over half a century.

CPI State Secretary Kanam Rajendran and witnesses of the Kandhamal violence, Ajay Singh and Dheerendra Panda, were also present.

The documentary on communal violence, Voices from the Ruins, was screened at Press Club of Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala state.

It was earlier screened at Thrissur and Kozhikode.

– matters india

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3 Responses to “Film highlights “helpless cry” of Kandhamal victims”
  1. Denis Khan says:

    Recently, the media reported the top ecclesiastical hierarchy concerned over the visit of the Holy Father to India.
    Sadly, the response of the Catholic Church to these atrocities is woefully minimal.
    The fear expressed by ‘Genocide in Kandhamal’ report was confirmed by the ‘Study of the Conditions of Women Affected by Communal Violence in Kandhamal District, Orissa’, by the Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work in Mumbai, in 2009. The study confirmed at least 16 more rapes during the anti-Christian violence apart from the three rapes that have been recounted in this book: rape of Priyatama Digal (Go to Cost of faith – sadistic killing of Christians on page 22), Rajani Mahji who was gang raped and torched alive (Go to Miraculous survival of priest from torched alive on page 34) and the rape of the Catholic nun. (Go to For raped nun, Jesus is ‘alive on the Cross’ on page 48.)
    These 16 rapes came to light from the random survey conducted by the Nirmala Niketan students among 355 women from 68 of the 415 villages that were affected by the violence. This study also pointed out that “it is highly likely that many other such cases have gone unreported due to the shame attached (to rape).”
    On the ‘physical and sexual abuse of women and young girls’, the Nirmala Niketan report said: “A lack of security meant that they were beaten up, threatened and verbally abused by the men, they were harassed while filling water, younger girls were sexually exploited by policemen while they were bathing and nuns were harassed. Two instances of rape of girls were mentioned. In one case the girl, currently in hospital, attempted suicide by burning herself and the other girl had become pregnant after being raped and the police were trying to take advantage of her.”
    The Nirmala Niketan report should be prioritized by the Church to ensure justice for all citizens.

  2. SHASHI MINZ says:

    The truth has to emerge one day .and the fact finding committees are a hoax and a big farce .It shall be well known to the National Commission of SC and ST as well as the National commission of women as to the extent of atrocities committed against our own women and our countrymen . All literature and agitation has either been smothered or obliterated from the face of the earth . even the visit of the Pro nuncio the officials from Delhi did not make any difference . The sufferings of the people instead increased day by day . During the last Phalin storm in Odisha to the velocity of 400mph the people found refuge in the cloisterd convent in Ganjam dist and XIMB in Bhubaneshwar . Around 59 trees fell down in XIMB campus which house around 129 odd families . The institute gave shelter to the cattle and the pets of the people along with their families and children on humanitarian grounds …the atrocities committed by the police who are supposed to be protectors of the law were inhuman to the already plagued section of the society …no action was taken against the perparators of the crimes . and the rest of India watched in silent witness . I can only pray ; Let us not judge for our selves the reasons for such events and why were they exeuted , and on whose behest . Just look . No condemnation , no approval . The light of awareness alone will destroy all that is evil and bring to life all that is good . And your life will become luminous and transparent ….Just the Holy Mass and the celebration of the Holy Eucharist is a purifying experience.

  3. jonah says:

    No different from the ISIS, who would execute on the spot and get rid of any enemies. Both are brainwashed by evil dark spiritual forces.

    Pray that these people are exposed and punished by GOD, so that no such incidents happen in future.

    To forgive is our part , but it is GOD’s part to judge evil violent people.

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