Indian Catholic News

Activists highlight poor condition of Kandhamal survivors

A fact-finding team highlighted the pathetic condition of the people even four years after the violence.

File photo of a house destroyed in Kandhamal violence (Photo Courtesy: christian persecution)

About 200 activists and survivors of the Kandhamal anti-Christian violence gathered to discuss the present situation on the fourth anniversary of the incident.

A fact-finding team that visited the riot-affected areas in Kandhamal noted that the condition of the people is pathetic even four years after the violence.

They said that at least 10,000 people, who had migrated to different places because of the riots, are yet to return to their villages and those who have returned have started migrating as they are not given work to earn a livelihood.

The team visited 16 villages in the district from Aug 10-14 and interviewed about 50 people, including victims, witnesses, leaders of various political and social organizations, the Kandhamal district collector and Superintendent of Police and reviewed various documents and records.

The team members found that some Christian families have sent their children outside the district to study fearing a threat on their lives.

They also noticed that some violence-affected children were employed in hotels run by upper-caste people in places such as Baliguda, G.Udaigiri and Phulbani.

Another observation was that tribal and dalit people of the area faced difficulties in obtaining caste certificate. The authorities issued such certificates to only those recommended by Hindu radical groups, they said.

At least 5 percent families have not yet received any compensation for their houses damaged in the violence. The Odisha government is giving 50,000 for the fully damaged and 20,000 for the partially damaged houses.

Some 130 peole, whose shops were destroyed in the riots, have received compensation far below the requirement to revive their business.

Almost no compensation has been given for damages to institutions such as hospitals, schools, non-government organisations and churches, the team noted.

The team said that the survivors lived under stress and fear because of threats and hate campaigns.

The 2008, Kandhamal violence killed 90 people, rendered 55,000 Christians homeless. The attackers looted 5,600 homes in 415 villages.

Source: press statement

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