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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Kandhamal Day

August 25, 2008 was an unforgettable day which caused a deep scar on the Indian Democracy. This was the day, when a group of right wing Hindu fundamentalists brutally attacked and tormented several hundred Dalits and Adivasis in Kandhmal (Odisha). This pre-planned and organised ‘communal attack’ against minorities was the biggest in the history of India. It is against the spirit of the Indian Constitution drafted by Dr. B R Ambedkar and against the spirit of Unity and Harmony in India.

This attack took 90 innocent lives, 40 women were sexually assaulted, 350 churches were demolished, 6500 houses of Dalits and Adivasis were looted and destroyed, and over 56,000 people were displaced. 

Eight full years have gone by, but no justice has been given to the victims of these communal riots, rather the culprits were legally freed by the court of Law. Moreover, several cases of forced ‘ghar wapsi' have been initiated by the hindutva forces.

(L - R) Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, Ms. Joycia Thorat, Rt. Rev. Dr. Taranath S Sagar,
Prof. Dr. Ram Puniyani and Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

Therefore, the Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism of the National Council of Churches in India, appealed to all the member churches and organisations to organize events for one week around August 25, 2015 to mark the memory of Kandhamal, to express solidarity with the struggle of the people of Kandhamal, and to apply adequate pressure on the governmental institutions to provide justice for the victims and survivors.

The Commission itself organised one event along with the M M Thomas Birth Centennial Public Lecture and the NCCI–CASA National Consultation on ‘Grassroots Ecumenical Diakonia' on 24th August 2015 at ECC, Bangalore. Over 50 national Church Leaders participated. Together we prayed for justice to be established for the victims and committed to promote social harmony all over the globe including all countries and places where the communities are suffering due to the communal riots and terrorism. We all jointly committed to raise slogans and work for NO MORE KANDHAMAL around the globe.

Reported by:
Rev. Christopher Rajkumar
Executive Secretary,
Commission on Unity, Mission and Evangelism.
National Council of Churches in India