Kandhamal violence was not spontaneous, say top officials

Published 21 November 2011  |  
Endorsing what the Church has been claiming since the barbarous 2008 Kandhamal violence, two top Orissa state officials told before a commission of enquiry last week that the violence was planned in ahead.

The former revenue divisional commissioner (RDC) Satyabrata Sahu and ex-deputy inspector general (DIG) of south range RP Kotche maintained that the violence was 'pre-planned' and the miscreants had even cut down trees to disrupt movement of police.

The duo had made the claim on Wednesday while appearing before the Justice Basudev Panigrahi Commission of Enquiry which is probing the violence that killed dozens of Christians and displaced thousands others.

They told the Commission that the movement of armed police in the district was severely restricted resulting in large scale violence which could not be controlled on time, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI).

While both the officers maintained that the administration had taken adequate steps to prevent the flare-up in the district, they said things suddenly went out of control.

Former MP RK Naik also deposed before the Commission, as there were allegations against him for inciting communal riots.

Two affidavits were reportedly filed against Naik accusing him of being involved in conspiracy to spread hatred among people of different religions.

Naik denied any role in the violence and also claimed that between the years 2004 and 2008 he mostly resided in Delhi.

Kandhamal witnessed unprecedented violence against tribal Christians after the murder of VHP leader Laxmananda Saraswati and four of his aides at his ashram on August 23, 2008.

The manner in which the houses were burnt and churches were razed down clearly pointed to a well planned and executed campaign by the Sangh Parivar. Christians had been maintaining that the violence was not a spontaneous reaction.

According to Christian groups, about 14 of the 30 districts in the state of Orissa were impacted by the violence. Some 6,000 houses and 296 churches were burnt, and about 56,000 became internally displaced persons.

Meanwhile, a tribal outfit in the district has warned that it would resume its agitation if the state government had not met its demands which were presented three years back.

The Kui Samaj Samanyaya Samiti has demanded the government to withdraw cases registered against tribals in the riots following the murder of Swami Laxmananda Saraswati. In addition to that, it has called for action against persons availing tribal benefits with fake certificates.

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