It is articles such as these that make one’s blood boil. Brinda Karat’s article is so one-sided and biased that it seems like a deliberate attempt to offend one community and appease the other. Such articles typically overlook facts, are devoid of any context and are written in a way that curdles one’s blood. Any incident be it a riot or a carnage does not just occur overnight. And while there is no reason to justify a riot of any sort, one must, for the sake of balanced reporting and news making, be as unbiased and fair as possible. Clearly, this simple philosophy is something that a Communist mind fails to comprehend. Hence you have the likes of Brinda Karat spewing disinformation and misguiding people.
The poignant question is what happened in Kandhamal. To understand this, one must look at facts and facts alone-
1. In spite of an anti-conversion law being in place since 1967, Odisha has been a fertile ground for head hunting Christian missionaries.
2. Kandhamal District is inhabited by predominantly tribal Kondh and the converted Christian Pana tribe.
3. There is a feud between the Pana and the Kondh as the Pana have been demanding ST status, a demand which has been rejected at multiple levels.
4. The percentage of Christians in Kandhamal has risen from 6% in 1970 to 27% in 2001, aided by the influx of foreign missionaries, with scant regard for local customs.
4. Swami Laxmananda Saraswati had been working in the area for more than 2 decades and was widely respected for his socio-economic work including building schools, hospitals etc.
5. The trouble in Kandhamal started in December 2007 as the Christians set up a Christian arch in front of a Hindu place of worship. There were protests by Hindus that snowballed into violence.
6. Swami Saraswati set off for Kandhamal to “boost the morale of the majority community”. His car was stopped by local politicians, which led to passions getting inflamed. One Congress Rajya Sabha member, who was himself a convert and headed a missionary organization, played a significant role in aggravating the crisis.
7. In August 2008, 84 year old, Swami Saraswati was murdered on Janmashtami day in his Kanyashram, allegedly by Maoists. There are various conspiracy theories that state that the Maoists were guided by ‘nefarious elements’.
8. The bandh called by VHP and Bajrang Dal to protest Swami’s murder soon snowballed into violence and arson. There is no doubt that unspeakable atrocities were committed by rioters and the tentative peace in Kandhamahal was shattered forever.
While one must sympathize with the victims of the riots and bring rioters to justice, one must not overlook two things-
1. There had been uncontrolled missionary activity in this region that had created a rift among the locals. It was this rift that was exploited by missionaries and fringe Hindu elements to catastrophic effect during the riots. The murder of Swami Saraswati and the construction of Christian arches in front of a temple only fanned, what were already inflamed tempers.
2. The government’s role, as is usually the case, was unplanned, inadequate and laughable. Maoists, on the other hand, are widely believed to have acted on behalf of ‘powers that be’.
Since that fateful August month, Christian missionary websites have woven odes on the martyrs of Kandhamal. Unfortunately, our own naive political leadership has chosen to accept these odes as the reality. For the sake of fairness, Brinda Karat should also pen a narrative on the tragic murder of an 84 year old ascetic. But doing that would make her right wing fanatic. It is easier instead to wax eloquent on the Christian victims. Communists of all shades and colour find it easier to condemn “Right-wing violence”, while at the same time condoning Naxals and other Commie breeds as “champions of people’s rights”. Communists claim to be atheists. Instead they pray to a God called Hypocrisy! Go figure that Brinda Karat!!
Coming back to the point, You are free to make your inferences based on the above narrative. One can not and must never deny that innocent men, women and children were massacred during Kandhamahal riots. But one can not and similarly must never claim that the riots were a mere extension of a sinister right wing Hindu agenda that refuses to tolerate the existence of minorities.
The truth, as you can see, is more complex than the mere black and white, which the likes of Brinda Karat choose to profess.