ASIA/INDIA - Inquiry in the anti-Christian massacres in Orissa: there was careful planning

Friday, 23 September 2016 hinduism   violence   religious minorities   politics   religious freedom  


Bhubaneswar (Agenzia Fides) - The Christian massacres that occurred in Orissa in 2008 are the result of careful planning by Hindu nationalist groups of the "Sangh Parivar" network at the highest level. Illiterate masses of militants were manipulated by propaganda and incited to kill. Thanks to the investigation carried out by Indian journalist Anto Akkara, "one can rewrite the history of Kandhamal", the district of Orissa theater of anti-Christian pogroms in 2008. And today, "it is a disgrace for the nation and the judiciary that seven innocent Christians are in prison for a crime they did not commit", notes Akkara in a conference in which his latest investigative book entitled: "Who killed Swami Laxmanand?" was presented.
The book - which follows other works such as "Kandhamal: a blot on Indian secularism" and "Kandhamal craves for justice" - sheds light on the mysterious murder of the Hindu leader Swami Laxmanand, for which Christians were accused, and which was the pretext to unleash violence.
Following the murder of the 81-year-old leader, on August 23, 2008, in Kandhamal district, in the Indian state of Orissa, the Christian communities suffered an indiscriminate mass attack. About 100 Christians were killed, 300 churches and 6,000 homes were looted and 56,000 internally displaced people sought refuge in the forests to escape the ferocious ethnic cleansing.
After the murder of leaders, later claimed by Maoist guerrillas, seven Christians were arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2013 for the murder "without any proof", notes Akkara, denouncing an authentic "travesty of justice". The Supreme Court has yet to set a date for the appeal, "but the alleged Christian conspiracy against Hindus is totally unfounded", notes the journalist.
This is Akkara’s reconstruction: "In the political calculation of the extremist Sangh Parivar network, after having brutalized the Christians in Kandhamal, the international Christian lobby apparently led Sonia Gandhi to sack the government of Orissa, in which the Bharatiya Janata nationalist Party was partner coalition. This would have paved the way for the victory of Hindu nationalist groups and the BJP in the 2009 elections, which was then won by the Congress Party".
Akkara notes the institutional reluctance to address the issue, given that "the National Commission for Human Rights has not even issued a press release on Kandhamal in eight years" and notes that "seven innocent Christians in prison are a stain on the judicial system of the country", while "Kandhamal remains a blot on the face of Orissa and Indian secularism". (PA-SD) (Agenzia Fides 23/09/2016)