Kandhamal killings unwarranted: Archbishop Barwa

July 14, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Bhubaneswar, July 11, 2016: The head of the Catholic Church in Odisha has expressed concern over the killing of civilians in Kandhamal district of the eastern Indian state.

The killings of five people on July 8 were “unfortunate” and “uncalled,” Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, chairperson of the Odisha Catholic Bishops’ Council, said.

The Divine Word prelate spoke told Matters India on July 11, the same day when a shut down called by political parties Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party brought Kandhamal to a standstill following.

The archbishop asserted that justice should be done to the innocent people.

According to local reports, a group of 11 residents of Parangpanga village were returning from Balliguda, a sub-division in Kandhamal district, by a three-wheeler autorikshaw after receiving money under MGNREGES (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme). Heavy rains and bad road forced them to get off the vehicle. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), a paramilitary troupe that was patrolling the area, took them for Maoists and fired on them.

Five villagers, including two-year-old girl Gracy Digal, were killed on the spot and five others were injured in the firing.

The victims were later identified as Kukula Digal, 42, Midiali Mallick ,30, Bimbuli Mallick,40 and Kimari Mallick, 35.

Father Madon Sualsingh, a social worker based in Kandhamal, told Matters India the dawn to dusk bandh (shut down) affected the normal life in the district.

Father Ajaya Kumar Singh, a human rights activist, says the killings were either the result of intelligence failure or part of a larger game plan involving petty traders, communal and caste forces along with the state administration to eliminate tribal, dalit and Christian minorities in the district.

Kandhamal was the scene of the India’s worst anti-Christian violence in 2008. Around 100 people were killed and some 50,000 were displaced during a four-month mayhem targeting Christians in Kandhamal. The rioters destroyed 6,500 households and 350 churches and charitable institutions.

Meanwhile, the security forces said they acted after receiving specific intelligence inputs of Maoists presence in that area. They also acknowledged that the shooting took place during heavy downpour in the dark. Hence it was not possible for them the victims’ identity.

Media reports said the bullets were fired from three to four meters away.

Meanwhile Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has announced a compensation of 500,000 rupees to the victims’ families, job a family member and houses for them.

Human rights activists recall another incident on July 26, 2015, when security forces shot dead a couple in Kottogarh area in Kandhamal.

According to Father Singh, local politicians and traders spread rumors about Maoists to keep the security presence in the district so that they could continue their exploitative business unchallenged.

“How long will adivasi (tribal) and dalit suffer this game plan?” he asked.

– matters indiaq

Enter Google AdSense Code Here

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!