Journalists ignore anti-Christian pogrom
In this case, the murder was committed by the Maoists, who had their own perverted reason to get even with the swami. But the Sangh Parivar portrayed the murder as the handiwork of the Christians with a clear purpose -- to hound them out of Kandhamal.
Not for one moment did they think that though Mahatma Gandhi was killed by Nathuram Godse, who had his political baptism in the ideology of the RSS, not one Hindu was touched in retaliation. But the poor Christians of Kandhamal were targeted for someone else's crime. And they were not even Christians!
"Even inside the court, the influence of the Sangh Parivar is overpowering", said Dayal. Small wonder that even those accused of murder are loitering in the area, either on bail or in the belief that nothing would happen to them. "To control the situation, there are just two hapless police constables, who themselves deserve sympathy".
It is often mentioned, mostly by the Sangh Parivar activists, that conversion is the root cause of all the troubles in Kandhamal.
Who else could have answered this question more effectively than Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar Raphael Cheenath, who is now better known across the globe as 'Archbishop Cheenath of Kandhamal'.
I understood why John Dayal calls him "the hero of the faith for Christians", when I heard the Archbishop depose before the Tribunal. One of the jury members asked him a bit bluntly whether it was true that conversion played a role in the pogrom. "I have a personal staff member, who was not born Christian. But he is a firm believer who goes to the church regularly to pray. Now, tell me can I tell him not to go to church?
"Conversion is a bogey they use all the time to denigrate Christians. Orissa is one of the first states to introduce a law to ban conversions. It is called the Freedom of Religion Act. Even after decades, not a single Christian has been convicted for converting any one to Christianity by using force or other fraudulent means.
"Come to think of it, a poor person can select a school for his children, a particular dress for himself. He can also vote for a party he likes and marry a person of his choice but he has no freedom to choose a God or a religion. For that, he has to seek the permission of the district magistrate. What kind of democracy is this?"
The Archbishop does not mince his words. The Scheduled Castes have for generations provided cheap labour to the upper castes. With the arrival of the church in the area, they got access to quality education. "Today there are IAS and IPS officers hailing from Kandhamal. Among them are Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes".
An educated person is a person who is aware of the privileges of enlightened citizenship. He knows the value of labour. He knows about minimum wages and other laws. In other words, he cannot be bluffed. Nor can he be kept in servitude. This is what the upper castes cannot tolerate. They have no problem with Christian institutions so long as they serve the upper classes as in the case of some "Christian-run" institutions in Delhi.
"Conversion is just a ruse", said the Archbishop. Conversion of a different kind happens in Kandhamal. This is in wanton violation of the very Freedom of Religion Act, enacted to prevent it.