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Kandhamal day

The rally in New Delhi's Jantar Mantar will be marked by performances by artistes and speeches against communal violence, for justice and harmony by social, civil society, gender, Dalit, Tribal and religious freedom activists and leaders of Christian groups. Some 50 non-government agencies and civil groups have come together to observe the day.

Rallies, seminars, exhibitions and discussions across country will mark Kandhamal Day today to demand justice for victim-survivors of anti Christian violence in Orissa in 2008.This violence, which continued for three months, was recorded as the most severe persecution of the community in 300 years.

The National Peoples Tribunal recorded that over 56,000 children, women and men, all of them Dalits or Tribals, were displaced and forced to flee into the forests as mobs burnt down over 5,600 houses, 300 big and small churches, schools, hostels and medical centres. An estimated 120 men and women were killed, many hacked to death by axes and machetes and several burnt alive.

The criminal justice, relief and rehabilitation systems have all failed the victim-survivors. Out of 3331 complaints, only 800 or so FIRs were registered. Out of those, only 518 cases  charges-sheeted. Just 247 cases have been disposed off with a high number of acquittals. Out of 30 murder cases that have been tried so far, only 2 resulted in conviction for murder, and about in four for lesser offences (than murder). All others have resulted in an acquittal.
Relief and rehabilitation have been extremely tardy with the authorities failing in their duties to provide assurances of long term security, as well as resources and opportunities including employment to rebuild their lives. The victims have approached the Supreme Court of India for relief.

They also want Protection of faith, culture, language, values and religions of Adivasis and Dalits of Kandhamal and action against politicians and organizations directly or indirectly involved in the violence or facilitated the communal violence.

The activists want a high level SIT to be instituted to enquire into the roles of the administration and the police machinery and necessary actions to be initiated against the omissions and commissions of the police and the administration.

Press Release

Let us join in prayer with those in Delhi.

Lord and master of Justice, restore peace in the locality. May the faith of the survivors embolden each of us to be staunch in our faith and live purposeful lives.

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