Press Release 19-9-2008|
Red Cross Society, Bhubaneswar
Observations and Recommendations about continued violence in Kandhamal, Orissa
Civil Society Organisations’ Fact Finding Team
The Civil Society Organisations under ‘Odisha Sadbhavana Manch’ formed a Fact Finding Team which visited Kandhamal district from 12 to 14 September, 2008. The team met with the district administration, personnel’s of police stations, a number of affected villages and relief camps. The team interacted with the victims as well as the incharges of the relief camps. Seeing the nature and extent of violence, loss of human lives and property, the team proposes certain measures and recommendations for peace building process and constitutional governance in the violence
Name of the Fact Finding Members:
- Mr. Kedar Roy
- Mr. Mahendra Parida
- Mr. Radha Mohan Das
- Mr. N.K Rout
Through interviews, and spot verification of the riot affected areas – Baliguda, G.Udaygiri, Raikia, Tikabali, Phulbani and Kenwagaon, suggests that the violence was not spontaneous nor sporadic as government says, rather it was well planned and executed accordingly.
- Police and Administration: When the violence started there was no police presence in the area and no adequate number of forces was deployed to contain the violence, even after knowing the nature of trouble that was going to take place. The police and administration was clueless as to what to do. Even where a few police men were deployed, they were a silent spectators and allowed the hooligans of VHP and Bajrang Dal to ransack and burn the houses of the Christian
Community in front of their eyes. It wasn’t a problem of law and order situation as claimed by the government but it was in connivance of the government and the Sangh Parivar the violence was carried out for more than two weeks.
- The Role of the Trader Community: The Dalit community’s progresses in their parallel business with the traders who are of outside the area have angered the traders’ community. Thus the trader community played an active role in spreading the communal violence along with outsiders who did not know Oriya. They were instrumental in threatening the victims, looting cattle and household articles, burning houses and in the re-conversion process. Outsiders were also involved in harassing the Fact Finding Team.
- Health and Sanitation: Health and sanitation in most camps remains deplorable barring the camp in Raikia Mission School. Several people had fallen sick, and no proper medication was given to them. Two people in Udayagiri camp died of malaria and diarrhea.
- Food: The quantity and quality of rice and Dal provided in the relief camps was inadequate and poor. In most camps the victims had to prepare their own food for which no utensils were given due to which food was not provided on time. Whether children of 2 years or people in their old-age, all had to eat only twice a day and that too lunch at 3.00 pm.
- Relief Camps: The relief camps were set up in water-logging areas and this put the people into inconvenience. The tents provided for the victims were not sufficient. The camps are over crowded. There was no safety even to the relief camps. One person who went out of G.Udayagiri
camp never returned, later his body was found wrapped in a canny bag and thrown in the pond. Women, children and the sick people are most vulnerable.
- Fear Factor: The relief campers refuse to return to their homes fearing for their life. It is also found that most people had no homes to return to as they are burnt to ashes. Even those who want to go back to their village the miscreants are roaming around and threaten the people
either to convert to Hinduism or leave their place.
Facts and figures Orissa
|NAME OF BLOCKS ||NO. OF VILLAGES ||NO. OF HOUSEHOLDS AFFECTED |
|NO OF PLACES OF WORSHIP DAMAGED||50|
|NO OF SHOPS DESTROYED IN RAIKIA||10|
|NO OF BOYS/ GIRLS HOSTEL DESTROYED ||5|
|OTHER INSTITUTIONS DAMAGED||6|
|NO OF PRIESTS ATTACKED||6|
|NO OF DECEASED PEOPLE IN UDYAGIRI||26|