Talk it out

via published on October 10, 2008

The problem in Kandhamal district of Orissa is two-dimensional. One is communal and the other is social. The communal side of the issue is that the unabated evangelisation perpetrated by Church & Missionaries in the name of freedom to propagate their religion is nothing but a sheer abuse of the Constitutional provisions. The Social side is that the converted ‘Pana’ Scheduled Castes demand ‘tribal’ benefits enjoyed by the ‘Kandh’ Scheduled Tribes.


It is not fair on a Scheduled Caste community to claim the benefits, which are enshrined only for Scheduled Tribes, just because they speak the same language. Also when the Church & Missionaries commit themselves that they would provide education, employment and health care and illegally convert the Pana SCs, they do it in the name of ‘equality’. Instead of living up to their commitments, the Church apparently instigates the converted Panas to demand the ST benefits on par with the Kandhs. So, it is not unnatural for the Kandhs to feel agitated, and even after the Court verdict against them the Pana community has been creating problems.


The evangelical missionaries, with the help of hired Maoists, are reportedly instigating riots, as they feared the reconversion of Panas to Hinduism, especially after the sustained social service undertaken by Hindu social organisations and religious leaders. This is what led to the brutal murder of Swami Lakshmanananda after several attempts before. This brutal murder of nonagenarian swami and his four disciples on the auspicious day of Krishna Jayanthi landed as a huge assault on the pride & self-esteem of Hindu tribes, who have been revering him.


When the spontaneous retaliation occurred, the Church and Missionaries, tacitly resorted to internationalise the local issue and gain sympathy from western countries by playing ‘victims’. As the ‘secular’ media has also been projecting only one side of the story, the complex catena of events has been misrepresented.


Anarchy will prevail as long as the laws are violated and the Constitutional provisions are abused. Abusing the freedom to propagate, converting people enmasse through allurement, coercion and deceit, denigrating Hinduism and demanding reservation benefits on religious grounds are some of the violation of laws and once such violations are stopped peace will automatically return. The Christian leadership must recognise the root cause of the problem, identify the foreign-funded rogue organisations within their community, which indulge in irresponsible evangelisation and prevail upon them for a peaceful solution.


Having this in mind, the opposition leader L K Advani has taken the initiative of starting the dialogue process, when he met Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi, Archbishop Raphael Cheenath of Orissa, Rev Dominic Emmanuel of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese and Swami Chidanand Saraswati of Paramarth Niketan, Rishikesh, on Wednesday, proposing an inter-faith dialogue to prevent the recurrence of inter-community conflict,

Though the joint statement appealing for peace and dialogue seems to be encouraging, the Catholic Leaders must show sincerity and seriousness in addressing the root cause of the issue and reining in the evangelical businesses.


The opposition leader has done what the Prime Minister has failed to do and he needs to be appreciated for that. The central government must grab this initiative shown by the opposition leader as a good opportunity and continue the peace process by cooperating with the L K Advani instead of trying to find fault with the Orissa government. The Advani initiated dialogue process must proceed towards achieving the objective of peace and tranquility for people.

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