NCM Fact Finding and Kandhamal

via H.Balakrishnan published on January 9, 2008

” NCM FACT FINDING AND KANDHAMAL” – LETTER TO INDIAN EXPRESS

DEAR SIR,

My sincere and heartfelt compliments to your paper for the heading “NCM team fails to visit hotspots of Kandhmal” (TNIE-09 JAN). It tells ‘everything’!!

The NCM member’s lame excuse that the difficult terrain precluded the visit to the villages Barakhama and Brahmanigaon doesn’t cut much ice. It must be remebered, according to media reports,that the attack on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati, happened on 24 Dec 2007,when he was proceeding to Brahmanigoan by car!!

That apart, one notices a few parallels between this visit and that of a similar ‘fact finding NCM team’ visit in mid-Mar 1999, to Orissa!!

In the village Ranalai, Gajapati District, similar Christian-Hindu riots had broken out then.The village had a Christian majority.Some Christians had painted a large Cross on a nearby hillock. Some Hindus transfigured it into a Trishul. A village ‘peace committee meeting’ had decided that neither the Cross or the Trishul would exist.The Hindus erased the Trishul. Christians alleged that while returning, Hindus shouted slogans proclaiming victory.That led to the violence.

According to reports in a section of the media, the trouble in Kandhamal started on December 23,2007, when some Christians at Brahmanigoan village wanted to erect a Christmas gate in front of a Hindu place of worship.This was resented by the local Hindus who questioned the motive of the Christians in insisting on building a second gate near a Hindu place of worship while one gate was already erected at a place where it was done every year on the eve of Christmas.This led to the initial clashes. Since Christians were more in number in the village the Hindus were at the receiving end.

The NCM sent a team in March 1999, to ascertain the facts. It declared that the seeds of the trouble had been sown a few months earlier by the ‘saffron brigade’.The report went on to state that the ‘Hindu Fundamentalists’ had instructed the Hindu villagers to convert the Cross on a nearby hillock to a Trishul.

Justice Wadhwa, who inquired into this incident wrote about the NCM findings: ” These findings are without examining any person on oath or receiving evidence on affidavits”. Justice Wadhwa then went to show that the NCM team proceeded in a manner that was in manifest violation of its own statute.

The Economic Times in its edition of 22 Mar 1999, had stated that tension between the two communities had been brewing since 09 Feb 1999, when 23 houses of Hindu families were burnt down by criminals belonging to the Christian community from the nearby Jhami Gaon.The paper reported: “The unfortunate incident was largely unreported and totally ignored by the national and international media”. (REF to paras 4,6 – 8 above: “Harvesting our Souls: Missionaries,Their Design, Their Claims” – Arun Shourie – [pp11-13] )

The current NCM team can also be expected to follow the precedent of 1999!!! Blame it on the ‘Saffron Thugs’!!There is much to be said about ‘ History repeating itself ‘!!

VANDE MATARAM

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